GRAND CHUTE – A former general manager of American Legion Post 38, 3220 W. College Ave., has been accused of stealing at least $22,000 from the business over several years.
Jessica Behrendt, 41, of Hortonville, admitted in an interview with police she embezzled between $20,000 and $30,000 from the American Legion, explaining she felt the business was “cheating” her, according to a criminal complaint filed in December in Outagamie County.
Behrendt has been charged with one count of theft in a business setting, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to court records.
Behrendt told police she took over the American Legion’s finances toward the end of 2017 but didn’t take any money until six or seven months later, the complaint says.
When Behrendt made a deposit for the business, she would keep some of the money for herself “because her husband was laid off and she was having difficulties trying to make ends meet,” the complaint says.
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Police reviewed bank documents and determined Behrendt deposited a total of $22,787 in a personal account about the same time she made deposits on behalf of the American Legion, the complaint says. Behrendt’s bank records showed 105 cash deposits between May 10, 2017, and Sept. 21, 2020, totaling $26,776, police said.
“On certain days when cash deposits were made into (Behrendt’s) bank account, her account was nearly depleted and expenses were being paid from her bank account that could not have been paid without a cash infusion,” the complaint says.
American Legion officials began to suspect Behrendt after an audit discovered that, between July 2018 and September 2019, more than $62,000 was never deposited in the business’ bank account, even though records indicated it had been, the complaint says.
Behrendt made her initial court appearance earlier this week and requested an attorney, according to court records. She was released on a $10,000 signature bond and ordered to have no contact with the American Legion or work as an accountant.
Contact Chris Mueller at 920-996-7267 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @AtChrisMueller.