Wife of Austin police lieutenant accused of embezzling funds

Published 7:54 am Friday, August 27, 2010

The wife of an Austin police lieutenant is being accused of embezzling funds while working as the clerk-treasurer for the city of Mapleview.

Dawn Marie Mueller, 46, a current part-time employee with the Mower County auditor’s office and wife of lieutenant John Mueller, was accused Wednesday in Mower County court of one count of embezzlement of public funds, one court of theft by check, two counts of theft and two counts of misconduct by a public employee.

The accusations come on the heels of an audit completed by the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) on the city of Mapleview. The audit revealed a number of holes in the city of Mapleview finances between 2000 and 2008, including bank overdrafts totaling $6,186 and missing funds that were supposed to be transferred from the city to fire relief assistance. The audit also uncovered private use of funds between 2001-08.

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In a taped July 6, 2010 interview with investigators, Mueller said she had used city funds for personal purchases, but that others, including a former city council member and a clerk-treasurer, had also made similar purchases.

Mueller also said she issued a payroll check two days in a row — on July 1 and July 2, 2007 — one valued at $525 and the other at $507. Both checks were cashed. According to the complaint, Mueller could not explain why. A similar incident occurred again on June 1 and June 5, 2008, with checks valued at $421 and $295.

According to the complaint, the OSA found no transfers of funds made from the city of Mapleview to the fire relief assistance from 2005-07.

When asked about the transfer of funds from the city to fire relief assistance, Mueller said in the taped interview that the Minnesota Department of Revenue would deposit funds in the city checking account. The city would then write a check to relief assistance and relief assistance would put it into their account. According to the complaint, the account was short $26,801.

Mueller was also accused of spending $41 at a Staples store for the purchase of school supplies. While Mueller said she does have a school-aged child, she said the supplies were for the county.

Neither John nor Dawn Mueller could be reached by phone Thursday.

The OSA also revealed bank overdrafts between 2002-08 totaling $6,186, according to the complaint.

Mueller will appear in court on Sept. 23.