Berlin woman embezzled $30K from Berlin schools

Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 17:46:51-05

A 42-year-old Berlin woman has been charged with a pair of felonies after she allegedly embezzled $30,000 from the Berlin Area School District.

During the summer of 2015, auditors that review the Berlin Area School District finances every year alerted the district office that some irregularities in reconciling the elementary activity accounts existed.

The school district launched an internal investigation reviewing all accounts and activity in those accounts. The investigation revealed there was missing money from the accounts. The employee who handles these accounts was placed on administrative leave. The school district contacted Berlin police on Sept. 15 and turned the investigation over to law enforcement.

Upon completion of the criminal investigation, elementary school administrators interviewed the suspect employee and the employee's employment was ended with the district. The district has reviewed all money handling processes and adjusted practices as needed.

Berlin police completed an investigation, which revealed about $30,000 was embezzled from the school district, more specifically from accounts at Clay Lamberton Elementary School, 259 E. Marquette St.

Charges were referred to the Green Lake County District Attorney’s Office on Nov. 23, 2015. Charges referred on Torry D. Putzke, 42, of Berlin include theft in a business setting in excess of $10,000 and misconduct in public office. Both charges are felonies in Wisconsin.

Putzke is scheduled to make an initial appearance at 8:30 a.m. March 29 in Green Lake County.

"The school district and police department have had a close working relationship for years," Berlin Police Capt. Kevin Block said. "I believe this helped in a swift resolution to this matter reducing further loss to the school district."

Berlin School District Superintendent Robert Eidahl said, "Although I am extremely disappointed with what has happened, I am satisfied that a thorough investigation has resulted in the complete exposure of the losses and has caused significant changes in how money is handled in our activity accounts."