Ex-clerk-treasurer to serve 3 weeks in jail

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Austin woman who was charged with embezzling funds while working as the clerk-treasurer for the city of Mapleview has been sentenced to three weeks in jail for neglect of duty.

Dawn Marie Mueller, 47, was convicted of neglect of duty by a town/city treasurer in Mower County District Court. Seven other charges, including felony embezzlement and theft, were dismissed when Mueller took a plea deal. Mueller was also sentenced to two years supervised probation and 160 hours of community work service. She must also pay more than $10,000 in restitution.

Mueller — who is married to Lt. John Mueller of the Austin Police Department — 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’s 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 and 2008.

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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 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 zero fund transfers made from the city to the fire relief assistance from 2005-07.

When asked about the transfer of funds from the city to fire relief assistance, Mueller said the Minnesota Department of Revenue would deposit funds in the city checking account. According to the complaint, the account was short $26,801.