Plea deal reached in hospital foundation theft case

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor

RHINELANDER – Former Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation Director Kimberly Ann Baltus reached a plea deal in Oneida County court Tuesday, Nov. 5, in a case regarding theft from that foundation and another.

A criminal complaint filed in Oneida County on July 9, 2019, states a Rhinelander Police Officer received a call on April 11, 2019, from Crowe LLP regarding a theft of money from Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, 2251 Northshore Dr., Rhinelander, and the Sacred Heart Foundation, 401 W. Mohawk Dr., Tomahawk. Crowe LLP, based in Chicago, Ill., is a “public accounting, consulting, and technology firm,” according to the company’s website.

An internal investigation conducted by Crowe LLP identified checks from checking accounts from Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation totaling $46,204.95, which had been written out by Baltus. The complaint states that, based on the information provided by Crowe LLP, the officer believed Baltus had possibly embezzled the $46,204.95 in cash from a checking account.

The report from Crowe LLP “broke down each bank account and identified $29,944.95 from the Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation checking account and $16,260.00 from the Sacred Heart Foundation checking account,” the complaint says. Although the checks were made out to Cash, Baltus was identified as the person who endorsed them.

Baltus admitted to the thefts from both accounts during an interview with the officer on April 16, 2019, claiming all but one $300.00 check from the Sacred Heart account dated July 19, 2016, a check she said was for “a golf benefit or fundraiser they had put on,” according to the complaint.

In total, Baltus admitted to stealing $45,904.95 between early 2017 and Oct. 2018, when she left her position at the hospital. Baltus said she started embezzling the money when her husband became disabled due to a back injury and wasn’t able to work. She also said in the beginning she started taking the money because it was “easy to do” and that she had every intention of paying back, “but admitted that the longer the thefts went on, she knew she would never be able to repay the money, but just kept taking it,” the complaint says.

Baltus also said she hadn’t realized, until she had knowledge of the total amount she had stolen, that it had “gotten that far out of control.”

According to court records, Baltus, 62, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Theft $2500 < $5000, a Class I Felony. She was originally facing a Felony G charge of Theft-Business Setting > $10,000.

Baltus was sentenced to 100 days in jail, along with a three-year withheld sentence while she is on probation. She will also have to pay $46,204.95 in restitution, fines and court fees.

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