Pamela Tamms-Klett, 51, New London, entered a plea of no contest to a felony theft charge on Friday, Jan. 13.
At the request of defense attorney Tom Johnson, Judge Philip Kirk accepted the plea but withheld judgment until sentencing, which is scheduled for March 16.
Johnson asked Kirk to consider dropping the felony charge to a misdemeanor if Tamms-Klett pays full restitution by the time of her hearing.
Tamms-Klett is the former office manager of the New London branch of Bank Mutual. She was accused of stealing more than $82,000 through almost 200 fraudulent transactions from early 2004 until December 2007 when she was fired.
The Waupaca County district attorney’s office charged Tamms-Klett with felony theft in October 2009.
New London police began investigating the case in January 2008 after they were contacted by Douglas Slock, vice president of security at Bank Mutual Corp. in Milwaukee.
Slock told investigators that Tamms-Klett issued Bank Mutual checks for refunds on loan fees, then deposited the checks into her own accounts at ATMs throughout the area.
Bank auditors provided police with 25 examples of how Tamms-Klett conducted the alleged fraud. On March 1, 2006, Bank Mutual made a $22,500 loan to a New London customer. The bank disbursed several checks during the transaction, including one for $972 that allegedly did not go to the customer. Instead, it was allegedly deposited at a Community First ATM in Greenville into an account held by Tamms-Klett.
According to the criminal complaint, Tamms-Klett told New London police that she used the money from the bank to pay bills, cover her children’s college expenses, buy gifts for the family and lunch for co-workers.
“She believed she was a giving person, but with other person’s money,” the complaint said.
In a handwritten statement she gave police, Tamms-Klett said, “I would review the annual stock report for Bank Mutual and see the CEO’s bonus for the quarter was more than most of the tellers annual salary. I asked to have fees returned for college students that have been overdrawn and was told that could not happen although one of Bank Mutual’s board members received $5,000 for attending a one-day board meeting. Any time I manipulated a transaction, somehow internally I kinda felt like I was owed the money.”