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Former club treasurer pleads guilty to stealing from swim team

Elkhorn Penguins nearly folds

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published May 7, 2007, 9:38 a.m.)

An Elkhorn woman was ordered to pay an $800 fine and write a letter of apology to the Elkhorn Penguins Community Swim team for stealing more than $6,000 from the club over a nearly three-year span.

As former treasurer of the youth swim team, Kerri L. Barr, 41, of 230 Park St., wrote more than 20 checks totaling $6,403 from the Penguins' account payable to herself, to cash and to a computer networking company her husband started, according to a criminal complaint.

Barr pleaded guilty last week Friday to three misdemeanor theft charges and was ordered to pay the fine, about $3,300 in court costs and $9,403 in restitution, according to court documents.

Barr was charged, entered her plea and sentenced all on the same day. The restitution was already paid, according to court documents.

The case was prosecuted by the Jefferson County District Attorney's office because her sister is a staffer in the Walworth County District Attorney's office. District Attorney Phil Koss said the case was transferred due to the possibility of a perceived conflict of interest.

The Elkhorn Police Department investigated the complaint.

A letter to the court from four of the team's current board members said Barr's theft "nearly caused the program to come to an end due" because of the financial hardship it caused. An end-of-the-year picnic and awards ceremony was cancelled, lifeguards and coaches had to wait to be paid and the team had checks bounce because of Barr's actions, the letter said.

Barr's phone was busy when The Week attempted to reach her Friday afternoon. Attempts to reach her attorney were also unsuccessful.

The board did not recommend jail time, but suggested probation and that Barr not be allowed to participate in charities or non-profit activities, according to the letter.

The Penguins are a year-round community swim team for kids ages six and older. It is open to children from Elkhorn and surrounding communities.



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