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ELKHORN

A Whitewater woman convicted in 2017 of stealing nearly $50,000 from her previous employer is charged again with taking more than $16,000 from the heating and cooling company where she recently worked.

Walworth County prosecutors charged Sally A. Heckert, 44, of 11329 N. McMillin Road, with stealing $16,234 from Reynolds Heating and Cooling in Whitewater since November 2017, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

Heckert became Reynolds’ office secretary in July 2017, the complaint states.

About six months earlier, she pleaded no contest and was convicted in Jefferson County Court of using a company credit card for personal use at Spacesaver Corp. in Fort Atkinson. A judge sentenced her to three years of probation.

Investigators found that from May 2013 through December 2014 she falsified 92 expense reports, according to a criminal complaint filed in April 2016. The fraudulent expenses totaled $47,549.46.

Shortly after Spacesaver hired Heckert as an executive assistant, its human resources director told police the company learned of Heckert’s “history of financial problems and several garnishments that had been levied against her paychecks,” the complaint states.

Reynolds’ owner told police April 24 he recently thought something wasn’t right about the company deposits. He then had a customer pay in cash so he could “watch” it through the process, according to the Walworth County complaint.

The copy of the deposit given to the company showed one amount, but the version sent to the bank showed no deposited cash, according to the complaint.

At Reynolds, employees found 14 discrepancies in deposits, the complaint states.

Heckert told police she spent all the money.

She will make her initial appearance at 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

Another similar case in Whitewater ended last week when Nicole M. Baker, a former manager at the SweetSpot Bakehouse, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $32,000 from the business.

Police Chief Aaron Raap told The Gazette on Monday that small businesses could be more vulnerable to such crimes in part because of their smaller staffs.

His recommendations included being careful about who to trust with money, restricting access to keys and data, and watching for irregular behaviors.

“Don’t ever assume that your bookkeeper who has been with your business forever is and always will be honest,” he said.