The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood woman sentenced to jail in credit union theft

 


HURLEY — A 48-year-old Ironwood woman was sentenced Monday afternoon in Iron County Court to a year in jail and three years probation for a single count of identity theft.

Wendy Wuorinen had originally been charged with 26 counts of theft for withdrawing around $7,613 from a customer’s account at the Iron County Community Credit Union in Kimball without authorization. She earlier entered a guilty plea to a single felony, under an agreement that the other felonies would be dropped, but read into the record.

Although a pre-sentence investigation had recommended no prison time, Iron County Judge Patrick Madden issued the one-year local jail term.

The victim’s wife suggested in court that Wuorinen spend two weeks in jail per every count originally issued.

“She took every dime,” the victim’s wife said. “They threatened to take our home and it destroyed our credit rating.

“It was pre-meditated and calculated because she knew he (the victim) had many problems. He asked her for help and she helped herself,” the victim’s wife added.

The victim, a Hurley man, could not appear in court because he is so distraught, she said.

Defense attorney James McKenzie described Wuorinen as “fragile.” He said she has been seeing a doctor since March of 2016 because she has had trouble coping with her daughter’s death several years ago.

“She turned to shopping,” he said, because it was a popular activity she had with her daughter. He said Wuorinen suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder connected to the death of the daughter.

McKenzie said her felony record will make it difficult for her to obtain a job and recommended no jail time. “She’s not a risk to re-offend,” he said.

“I apologize for what I’ve done,” Wuorinen said, sobbing.

She was ordered to report directly to jail with work release privileges granted, should she obtain employment.

Other conditions of the sentence are that she have no contact with the victim’s family, must write a letter of apology to the victim and continue to seek counseling.

Wuorinen, who acted alone and had no previous criminal record, previously made restitution for the money she stole.

The withdrawals occurred from November 2014 to December 2015 while she was employed at the credit union.

Hurley Police Chief Chris Colassaco investigated the matter and Wuorinen was charged on July 7.

Acting Iron County District Attorney Fritz Schellgell noted although the pre-sentence investigation recommended three years of probation, it did not suggest jail time, nor list other recommended conditions.

“I don’t know why prison time was not recommended,” Schellgell said, referring to the series of credit union thefts as “an ongoing pattern.”

Wuorinen was also ordered to pay court costs to be determined.

 
 

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