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Green Bay woman charged in “significant financial fraud investigation”

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 11:49 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay woman has been charged in “a significant financial fraud investigation,” according to Brown County investigators.

Theresa Marie Lasee, 42, is charged with five counts of felony theft in a case filed in July and two counts of felony theft in a case filed in August.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says Green Bay Police investigated three cases involving Lasee, in which $223,000 was stolen.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says three cases in their jurisdiction exceed $415,000.

Additional charges are expected to be filed this week.

CRIMINAL COMPLAINT #1

In May, an adult protective services social worker reported receiving information that a 96-year-old woman was being financially exploited by Lasee. The social worker provided a detective documents from the victim’s bank account, taxes and the sale of the victim’s property in Marinette County.

The detective looked at bank records from January 2017-March 2019 and April 2019-April 2021. The detective said he noticed “suspicious transactions.”

In 2017, there were 63 electronic checks made payable to Theresa Lasee for $70,606.89.

In 2018, the detective located 20 electronic checks payable to Theresa Lasee for $26,818.27.

From April 2019, to April 2021, the detective found 22 electronic checks worth $27,203.27 to Theresa Lasee.

The checks were endorsed by Lasee and deposited into a bank account.

The detective also located credit card cash withdrawals. The victim had no credit cards.

In May, the detective met with the victim and some of her friends. One of the friends said Theresa Lasee had reached out to him about buying the victim’s property in Marinette County. Lasee claimed to be the victim’s power of attorney. The friends agreed to buy the property for $30,000. They met with a title company, but became concerned that “Lasee could be taking advantage” of the victim. One of the friends called Adult Protective Services.

The victim had known Lasee for 15 years. She said Lasee helped her with groceries and lawn work. She said Lasee would help her write out checks to take care of her bills. The victim said her monthly expenses were utility bills. She denied having knowledge of giving Lasee access to electronic checks through her bank account.

The victim said Lasee sold her truck to someone but didn’t have permission to do so. Documents show it was sold for $500. The detective believed Lasee obtained a duplicate title and signed the victim’s name to it.

As for the property in Marinette County, the victim said she never wanted to sell it and she intended to give it to the Catholic Church when she passed away.

The victim said she never gave Lasee power of attorney.

However, the victim made several comments that she “could not believe Lasee had taken her money and she thought Lasee was a good person,” according to the complaint.

The detective reviewed Theresa Lasee’s bank account from May 1, 2015 through May 19, 2021. The detective found 169 checks payable to Lasee’s account from the victim’s bank account. The total was $210,060.51, according to the criminal complaint.

The detective interviewed Lasee, who said she had used the money on the victim’s expenses. She told the detective she sold two of the victim’s properties with the victim’s permission.

A temporary restraining order was issued against Lasee for financial exploitation against an elder adult at risk. The restraining order stated that the victim was in arrears for several bills--including property taxes. She had believed Lasee was taking care of writing out the checks for those bills.

CRIMINAL COMPLAINT #2

Police learned of possible other victims of Theresa Lasee. They met with a woman who had contacted Lasee about rolling over a 401(k) into another investment. She had known Lasee for 14 years and knew Lasee worked in a retirement investment business. She trusted Lasee.

The victim said she took the money out of her 401(k) and got a check for the amount minus taxes and deposited the money into her bank account. Lasee told her to withdraw $900, according to the complaint. She says Lasee told her to Venmo her $500. The victim said she gave $6,000 in cash to Lasee with the purpose of opening a retirement investment. The victim said she never received any paperwork. She texted Lasee several times asking for her money. She heard Lasee had been arrested in the other case and reached out to a partner in the retirement investment company. They found no paperwork regarding the victim’s investment. They said Lasee should not have taken any cash to do such an investment.

The detective made contact with Lasee at her place of business. Her boss at the retirement firm conducted an internal audit of Lasee’s work as an investment advisor. They uncovered a victim who serves overseas and is from Ashwaubenon. The victim, who also knew Lasee for several years, agreed to have Lasee set up a retirement account for her. The victim gave Lasee $17,464 to set up the account. She gave Lasee a personal check written out to Lasee, “per Lasee’s instructions.” The check was for $5,000. The rest was sent through Venmo. According to the complaint, Lasee had filled out an investment transfer form for $5,000 to another brokerage account, but the form was incomplete. There was a signature from the victim. Lasee’s boss believed Lasee completed that form to “give her some sort of legitimacy when dealing with the victim.” No account was ever set up.

The detective served a subpoena on Lasee’s bank account and found in February 2021, $2,174 was deposited into Lasee’s account from Venmo. That’s consistent with the second victim’s account.

In April, the detective noticed several deposits from Venmo into Lasee’s account. It corresponded with the $3,500 provided by the victim.

In May, there were additional deposits from Venmo that corresponded to payments made by the victim.

The detective found no evidence that transactions were used to set up retirement investments.

Action 2 News is following this story and will continue to provide updates as we learn more information.

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