WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) — A former ambulance service executive from Wayne, Ill., has admitted to embezzling from her company, while making a $200,000 salary.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, prosecutors said Teresa Wolande, 52, lived in a $4 million home, and pulled in the six-figure salary as chief financial officer for Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service in Elmhurst.
Yet, she still managed to embezzle $42,000 from her own company.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
The thefts began in May 2009, shortly after Wolande was hired, DuPage County prosecutors said.
She pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony theft and forgery charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that enabled her to avoid a prison term, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Instead, Judge Daniel Guerin sentenced Wolande to four months in the DuPage County Jail — though she will be released during the day to work. He also placed her on 2-1/2 years of probation and ordered her to pay $42,000 in restitution — a payment prosecutors said she already has made.
Her boss said he was satisfied with the penalty imposed on his former employee, but remains “baffled” why Wolande stole company funds within months of being hired.
“It’s so hard to understand why someone would do this. Even to this day, I scratch my head,” said Superior President David B. Hill III, who had known Wolande for 10 years before hiring her to run his company’s finances.
Wolande wrote several checks on company accounts to pay personal expenses, prosecutor Helen Kapas said, including a $15,000 check to pay her federal income tax bill.
Wolande also used company funds to pay for a $7,500 ski trip to Vail, Colo.; a $5,400 vacation to Captiva Island in Florida; and to cover a $946 bill for work on her Mercedes-Benz, Kapas said.
The scam was discovered by company officials when a sharp-eyed accountant noticed Wolande’s Social Security number on the check to the IRS, Kapas said.
Superior officials launched an internal audit, then turned the results over to DuPage County authorities.
The forgery charge stems from a bogus letter Wolande sent to court officials claiming she completed public service work for an unrelated 2007 drunken driving offense.
Wolande, who won’t begin serving her jail term until early December, left the courtroom without commenting.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.