Former Eau Claire County treasurer Larry Lokken and office manager Kay Onarheim are hoping for leniency? They had excellent employment, insurance, benefits and retirement that many of us can only imagine. They betrayed the public trust in the most brazen way.
They did not steal for need but for greed. They are making a very public effort to sell assets to gain sympathy in their sentencing. It is not vindictive for taxpayers to want them punished with a substantial prison sentence. The public wants and deserves justice.
Get all our money back
As I sit here and read the paper about our former Eau Claire county treasurer and office manager, I see that they are now asking for leniency in sentencing. I wonder if we really know how much they stole. The amount missing is more than $1.3 million, but they managed to plead to taking just $625,000 before the larger amount was discovered.
As they ask for leniency, we should be reminding ourselves of the old saying: “If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.” I believe that they must pay off their restitution in order to be released from prison, for I am sure that they can find ways to account for the money they have stolen.
Whether it be by way of selling personal property or digging up their back yard for the can that holds the cash, they should be required to pay back the county (residents) within the time they are incarcerated.
In addition, I believe they should be charged in a civil suit for the remaining $762,000 unaccounted for. Like everyone else, I’d like to know what happened to the rest of the money and believe they should be held responsible. If they have to sit in prison until it is paid back, so be it.
It is time for our criminal justice system to ensure not just the county officials but all other citizens who don't take care of their legal responsibilities be held fully accountable.
Throw the book at ’em
The two embezzlers want leniency. The citizens of Eau Claire County have been taken for more than $1.39 million. One can only wonder if more was taken before this was discovered? Larry Lokken was treasurer of Eau Claire County from 1976-2013. The missing funds we know about started in 2001.
Lokken and Onarheim deserve the highest penalty. Throw the book at them.
The taxpayers are the victims, not the embezzlers.