More charges filed against restitution clerk

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Court papers allege Krauss also conned a 90-year-old woman.

Over 18 months, restitution clerk Monica Krauss fraudulently wrote at least eight checks totaling more than $6,000 from a Cape Girardeau County account set up to repay crime victims, according to probable cause statements obtained Tuesday.

Along the way, Krauss, 36, of Cape Girardeau allegedly enlisted the help of two willing accomplices to help cash the checks. She also conned a 90-year-old woman into participating, the court papers say.

Krauss was originally arrested in May after working four years in the Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney's office. She was originally charged with three counts of forgery and one count of felony stealing.

Last week, Krauss had eight more counts of felony stealing added to her charges, and two others -- Monique Evans and Denise K. Johnson -- were arrested in connection with the alleged crimes. The charges were filed by Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour on a change of venue.

Evans, 40, of Jackson was charged with three counts of felony stealing. Johnson, 52, of Cape Girardeau was charged with five counts of felony stealing. Both were released on $10,000 bond. Krauss has been free on $10,000 bond since May.

Reached at her home Tuesday evening, Krauss declined comment. Neither Evans nor Johnson could be reached.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle declined comment. Barbour said he doesn't comment on pending cases. A preliminary hearing date has been set for July 27 in Butler County, though Barbour said it may be waived.

In the meantime, former Cape Girardeau County auditor Weldon Macke said he is finishing up his audit of the restitution trust fund. Macke was hired by the county commission to help clean up the books.

"It was a mess," Macke said. "Her ingenuity was pretty good. Sometimes she'd take three old deposit slips and take pieces off of each one to make a new one to cover her tracks."

Krauss, for example, would fill out a deposit slip in the records in January and not actually make the deposit until December, he said. That has made it hard to know exactly how much is gone.

Macke said $6,000 is close to the total.

"But it could be a lot more," he said. "We still need to find out what was missing and how it was handled. It would be best if she would just come clean with what she did with the money. A guesstimate is all I've been able to come up with."

Macke, who was the county auditor for 34 years before retiring in 2001, said the restitution fund has never been audited before.

"But it should have been," Macke said. "I'd have to say I was neglectful. It should have been audited before. But Morley would tell me that this was a good girl, and everything was fine."

The court papers say that between July 2, 2003, and Jan. 12, 2005, Krauss wrote checks to people who were not entitled to Cape Girardeau County Restitution Trust Fund money and had them cash them. It was Krauss' responsibility to oversee the account.

According to court documents, Krauss wrote three checks totaling $2,290.71 to Evans, mailed them to her and had her cash them in area banks. Evans told authorities she gave all of the money to Krauss.

The papers say Krauss wrote two checks totaling $1,303 to Johnson. Krauss allegedly delivered one check for $653 to Johnson's home. Johnson then cashed the check, deposited $253 into her personal account and gave the remaining $400 to Krauss, the court papers say. The second check was for $650 and Johnson deposited $200 into a savings account and gave $450 to Krauss, the papers say.

According to the documents, Krauss also wrote three checks over 10 months totaling $2,330 to a 90-year-old woman named Ursie Black. Krauss then allegedly gave the checks to Johnson, who allegedly told Black that she needed help cashing checks from an employer and would give her $100 a check to help her cash them.

335-6611, extension 137

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