Smith pays $126,133 in restitution at plea hearing
By Robert Cloud
The former town treasurer of Little Wolf was convicted of felony theft Wednesday, July 29.
Thomas Smith, 57, Manawa, appeared before Waupaca County Judge Vicki Clussman for a plea hearing.
Smith entered a no contest plea to a charge of felony theft in a business setting. A felony charge of misconduct in office was dismissed but read into the record for sentencing purposes.
Smith was accused of stealing property taxes that were paid to the town in cash, going back as far as 2000.
He told detectives that three to five people paid their property taxes with cash each year. He kept the cash but recorded the taxes as paid.
Smith is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 14. He could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and pay up to $25,000 in fines.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney James Fassbender said prosecution is recommending probation and plans to follow the terms of the probation agent’s presentence investigation.
However, if the presentence investigation recommends that Smith spend time in state prison, Fassbender said prosecution will recommend one year in county jail instead.
Smith’s defense counsel, Tom Johnson, presented a check for $126,133 to Little Wolf Town Clerk Jackie Beyer during the hearing. The check covered Smith’s total restitution to the town of Little Wolf.
Beyer said the town’s estimate of restitution included the property taxes that Smith stole, 1.5 percent interest, plus legal and auditing fees of $9,750.