$832,000 theft from church collections is latest gambling-related embezzlement

It was a crime nine years in the making, authorities said. It involved a carefully crafted scheme that eventually defrauded an Onalaska church of $832,210 in collection money.

But this is anything but a run-of-the-mill embezzlement prosecution. The defendant, a 59-year-old woman who worked as a secretary and clerk at the La Crosse County church for years, is accused of spending the money at casinos.

“I did a double-take on the amount,” said Rose Gruber-Blozinski, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. “That’s a lot of money to take in nine years.”

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