Clerk-treasurer pleads not guilty to embezzlement

Published 9:54 am Friday, October 1, 2010

An Austin woman who allegedly embezzled funds while working as the clerk-treasurer for the city of Mapleview pleaded not guilty to six charges Thursday.

Dawn Marie Mueller, the wife of Austin police lieutenant John Mueller, pleaded not guilty to one count of felony embezzlement of public funds, one count of felony theft by check, two counts of felony theft and two counts of gross misdemeanor misconduct by a public employee.

Mueller, 46, was accused of embezzling funds after an audit was 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. According to the complaint, the account was short $26,801.

Mueller will appear in court for pre-trial April 1, 2011. Her jury trial is scheduled for April 11, 2011.