For years Patricia Morgan drove a school bus. Unknown to anyone, her husband had driven her nearly mad – and to crime. Morgan, 44, had served as treasurer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1397, which represents staff for the Superior, Wisconsin school district. During October 1999 to March 2005, police records show, she embezzled $75,515 from the local. Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lucci sentenced Morgan to 120 days in the county jail and five years probation; she also will have to make restitution.
As treasurer, Morgan was supposed to disburse money from members’ dues checks to various entities each month and deposit the remainder into a bank account. In a typical month, she siphoned off anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for her personal expenses, and apparently without keeping track of how much she’d taken. “She was shocked the amount had snowballed to the amount it had,” said Public Defender Patrick O’Neill. “She, herself, was appalled at the amounts.” What may have been even more appalling was Morgan’s domestic situation. Her husband had racked up tens of thousands of dollars of gambling debts on credit cards. In effect, she stole to cover his tracks. Morgan had pleaded guilty to felony theft on September 26, and promised to pay back the money she took. “Ms. Morgan recognizes she made terrible decisions in addressing those problems,” said O’Neill. “She has repeatedly expressed to me her remorse. She feels a keen sense of responsibility to make restitution as much as possible.” (Duluth News-Tribune, 11/23).