Former Mills Treasurer Set For Plea Change In Embezzlement Case
The former Treasurer/Clerk of Mills will enter a change of plea next month to charges related to the embezzlement of more than $64,000 from the town, District Attorney Mike Blonigen said Friday.
Lisa Whetstone was scheduled to go on trial Monday for one count of grand theft, and one count of failing as a public servant to account for, deliver and pay over property received by virtue of the office.
Blonigen declined to comment on the terms of the plea, saying they may change between now and March 3.
Whetstone is scheduled to enter her plea before Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 3.
If Whetstone had gone to trial and was convicted, she could have faced up to 10 years in prison on the grand theft charge, and up to five years in prison on the failure as a public servant charge.
She remains free on $5,000 bond.
The case started in January 2015, when the Wyoming Department of Audit began a performance audit of Mills' books from July 2013 to June 2014, according to an affidavit filed by a Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation agent.
Auditors could not find cash received by the town that was to be deposited into its bank account, and the increasing losses totaling $64,383.51 resulted in the DCI investigation.
Auditors also found irregularities in the use of town-issued credit cards, including one for Whetstone who used it for personal expenses, according to court documents.
During the investigation, “Thereafter, both (Mayor Marrolyce) Wilson and Whetstone informed employees of the town, that if they cooperated with law enforcement they were threatened to be disciplined and put on probation," according to the DCI affidavit.
Whetstone was arrested in May and left the town's employ soon after that.
The case wasn't over because the DCI investigated alleged conflicts of interest and official misconduct during its investigation of Whetstone.
In late August, Wilson resigned a day after a DCI agent confronted her with evidence that she made $15,000 on the resale of town property her daughter bought for her.
Last month, Wilson was charged with misdemeanor counts conflict of interest, official misconduct, interference with a peace officer, and being an unauthorized holder of a local liquor license.
Meanwhile, a former Mills employee sued the town, Whetstone and Wilson for defamation. Eric Salveggio alleges they linked him to the embezzlement scheme, which cost him time and money while he was waiting for a job with the Veterans Administration. That case is still pending.