01STOCK_WALWORTH_JUDICIAL_CENTER

Walworth County Judicial Center in Elkhorn, Wis.

ELKHORN

A former manager of the Kay Jewelers in Delavan made her initial Walworth County Court appearance Wednesday on charges she made fraudulent refunds to herself at a cost of nearly $25,000.

Barbara A. Schultz, 65, of 617 Trevino Drive, Lake Geneva, still owes $19,542.74 of the $24,690.74 an investigation showed she took, according to the criminal complaint filed Nov. 8.

Schultz told a regional loss-prevention manager for Signet Jewelers that she needed money to pay bills and a family member’s medical expenses, the complaint states.

Schultz said she expected to close a sale of property in March to help her pay her bills, but when the sale was delayed, she started making the fraudulent transactions, according to the complaint. Once her situation became more stable, she said she repurchased some merchandise.

Loss-prevention manager Jennifer Dayss gave city of Delavan police a completed report and Schultz’s handwritten confession from her investigation on Sept. 7.

Dayss on Aug. 21 spoke with a regional auditor who said she discovered a refund for two diamond pendants and a ruby pendant but no matching merchandise, according to the complaint. The refund went to Schultz’s debit card.

Dayss’ investigation found Schultz made 23 fraudulent refunds between April 19 and July 17, the complaint states.

Of those, 12 transactions refunded to Schultz were from purchases by employees, nine were from customers and two were from Schultz herself.

Judge Phillip Koss ordered a signature bond for Schultz on Wednesday, court records show.

She is next set to appear at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 for a preliminary hearing.