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Former library employee told police she stole money to survive

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Ted Sullivan
August 28, 2008
— While being interrogated a second time about stolen cash, a fired Lake Geneva Public Library employee threw down her arms in frustration.

“I did it to survive,” she said June 13, according to court documents. “I knew it was wrong all along. I can’t even say that anything justified it.”


Mercedes Mogensen, 44, Elkhorn, is accused of stealing $18,500 from the library and charging about $70,000 on the library’s credit card for personal purchases.


She waived her preliminary hearing Wednesday in Walworth County Court and was bound over for trial on a charge of felony theft.


According to the criminal complaint, Mogensen and her husband filed for bankruptcy two years ago after he lost his job.


It was around that time Mogensen told police she stole $20 to $100 at a time between April 2006 to March 2008, according to the criminal complaint.


She claimed she used the money for groceries and gas, according to the criminal complaint.


An accountant who was auditing the library’s books reported to police in May that he discovered thousands of dollars missing, according to the criminal complaint.


The detective then began investigating Mogensen, who handled library money, but she initially denied any wrongdoing, according to the complaint.


A second interview the following day yielded the confession, according to the criminal complaint.


Mogensen was fired June 14.


The theft case has sparked changes in the way the city of Lake Geneva monitors its employees in charge of money and credit cards.


If convicted, Mogensen faces a maximum 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. She is free on a signature bond and is due in court next on Thursday, Sept. 11.



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