By Ethan Duran
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) announced Robin Nissen, 53, was sentenced to to 4-1/2 years in prison and three years of extended supervision after she embezzled more than $600,000 while working as a secretary for Milwaukee-based Advance Landscape Center and filing false state tax returns afterward. The woman was also ordered to pay more than $40,000 in restitution to the DOR.
Nissen printed checks in her name, recorded false entries for whom the checks were payable to in the business ledger and printed them off at her employer’s location while she worked for the landscaping company between around 2015 and 2018, DOR officials said. She falsely wrote more than $644,000 worth of checks to herself and deposited them in a personal account before evading $14,000 in state tax income, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman was the part-time secretary for Advance Landscape Center for around eight years and was in charge of payroll and billing, according to the complaint. She was the only person outside of the owner who had access to the business ledger and had authority to print checks from it. From 2015 to 2018, Nissen created false payments to businesses on the computer business ledger and printed a check in her name in Milwaukee. Over the years she fraudulently wrote out more than $600,000 worth of checks to herself and deposited them into her own account, according to the complaint.
She embezzled more than $67,000 in 2015, more than $160,000 in 2016 and more than $235,874 and $177,805 in 2017, according to the complaint.
Investigators said Nissen failed to accurately report her income while filing state taxes for tax years 2015 and 2018, according to the complaint. She failed to report her embezzled income and evaded more than $14,000 in Wisconsin income tax. She failed to file income tax returns in tax years 2016 and 2017 and then evaded more than $28,000 in state income tax those years.
According to the complaint, she was given two counts of fraud and rendering an income tax return, obtaining a refund with fraudulent intent or both. The punishment for conviction is imprisonment for six years and a fine no more than $10,000.
Special agents from the Wisconsin DOR Office of Criminal Investigation (OCI) and the Milwaukee Police Department investigated Nissen and referred charges, DOR officials said.
OCI investigates people and businesses who are suspected of committing tax crimes and seeks criminal prosecution for those crimes, officials added.
This story was updated on May 25 to reflect that the Milwaukee County District Attorney did not sentence Robin Nissen.