Officials in Wisconsin sue estate of deceased clerk accused of embezzling $134,000 in 5 years

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 6:25 PM

TOWN OF GRATIOT, Wis. — Officials in Lafayette County are suing the estate of a deceased clerk, saying he embezzled $134,000 over a five-year period.

Robert Hermanson, an elected clerk/treasurer of the Village of Gratiot and the elected treasurer of the Gratiot Fire District, committed suicide in April after being confronted with evidence of questionable expenses, Duane Jorgensen, the Gratiot Village attorney, said in a story Friday on WISC-TV (http://bit.ly/1jneI0T ).

Municipal officials had begun investigating after being told there wasn't enough money in their account to buy an all-terrain vehicle to help the fire department conduct rescues along the trails in the area. They found a series of canceled checks, without receipts to support the checks.

Officials asked Hermanson on April 8 to explain the discrepancy. He died the next day, and Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley said the death was officially ruled a suicide.

The Village of Gratiot, the Township of Gratiot, and the Gratiot Fire District have now filed a claim against his estate to recover $134,229.

Online court records list Brett Hermanson as Robert's personal representative. A message left for him Saturday was not immediately returned.

Jorgensen said Hermanson wrote checks to himself and his business, often in the amount of $200 to $300. He also allegedly paid himself an $18,000 salary for a position that was supposed to be a volunteer position.

Court records also allege that Hermanson had three large bundles of cash at his home, including a bank bag that contained more than $5,400.

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