Woman Accused of Embezzling Over $150K
By Brandi Makuski
A Stevens Point woman faces seven counts of theft in a business setting after being accused of stealing more than $150,000 from three local businessmen.
Suzanne Bertz, 43, worked as an account manager for a pair of business partners based in Dewey between 2013 and 2015; then as an administrative assistant for an automotive company in Stevens Point between 2015 and 2016.
Between the two jobs, Bertz allegedly wrote company checks to herself totaling over $150K, then edited entries in the company software to make the checks appear as legitimate business expenses.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the business owners was alerted to potential fraudulent activity on the account after switching to a new bank. The business owner then asked his accounting firm to audit company records, then contacted law enforcement.
After being confronted by the business partners, Bertz admitted to the thefts and apologized via email, according to the complaint. She later contacted the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office to make a statement.
“She said that she wanted to hurry up and get it over with,” the complaint reads in part. “[Bertz] said that she was not exactly sure how much she had taken.”
Bertz told deputies she began stealing small amounts when her bills exceeded her income, and when she wasn’t immediately caught, her actions “snowballed into more frequent and high-value thefts.”
During the time period Bertz is believed to have embezzled money, she purchased a car for her boyfriend, who later told deputies he found $12,000 cash in Bertz’ late mother’s freezer. She also took several trips to Milwaukee Brewers games and Summerfest, and offered to pay citation fines for a friend.
Bertz admitted to about $88,000 of the business losses. She returns to court for her initial appearance on Jan. 23.