By Sarah Parker | County Line Editor

Editor’s note: A copy of the criminal complaint is posted at the end of the article

Accused now of stealing about $128,190.93 from the Village of Wilton through various schemes, former Wilton clerk/treasurer Leigha Barton faces additional felony counts related to theft from the village government, according to an amended criminal complaint Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Croninger filed today. 

Leigha Barton (January booking photo)

The first set of felony charges were filed against Barton on Jan. 11, when she was arrested and posted a signature bond the next day.

Barton allegedly used unauthorized village credit cards and gas cards and misrepresented vacation time and paid time off to amass the money she is accused of taking from the village. According to the complaint, the thefts began April 3, 2021, shortly after Barton began her tenure in the clerk/treasurer’s position, and continued through July 8, 2023. 

The new counts are based in part on subpoenas that Wilton Police Chief John Stavlo had filed for 11 Village of Wilton credit cards. Only one of those credit cards had been village-board approved, and five were issued to Barton. 

Total charges on those credit cards range from $5,334.13 to $112,566.46, and all balances had been paid by the Village of Wilton. Current village employees determined that $113,248.16 of those charges were unauthorized. 

The subpoenas asked for records from Feb. 9, 2021, to July 4, 2023. 

Additionally, village statements reflect that Barton allegedly used the municipality’s gas cards to pay for gas for her and her boyfriend’s personal vehicles in the amount of $1,934.03 between June 1, 2022, and Feb. 17, 2023. 

Barton also is accused of giving herself 200 hours of vacation time and 96 hours of paid time off that she had not used, reimbursing herself in checks of $3,902.27 and $6,531. The check appeared to also include payments for time Barton actually had worked; the total she is accused of overpaying herself is $7,721.92 from Jan. 1, 2022, to June 27, 2023. 

Eli Yoder, then a village board member, was a signatory on the checks. Yoder told police that the two checks would have been presented to him along with other village bills and he had not known the checks contained payments for unauthorized vacation pay and paid time off compensation.

The latest round of counts against Barton include the following: 

1) Theft in a business setting (more than $100,000): According to the complaint, Barton allegedly stole more than $100,000 from the village. The count carries a $25,000 fine, imprisonment of no more than 12 years and six months, or both. 

2) Five counts of unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents: Barton is accused of using the Village of Wilton’s credit card information, misrepresenting herself as the municipality for personal gain. Each count carries a fine of no more than $10,000, no more than six years’ imprisonment, or both. 

3) Five counts of misconduct in office/act with excess authority, each of which carries a fine of no more than $10,000, no more than three years and six months of imprisonment, or both. 

4) Forgery, a count related to allegations that Barton gave false record to obtain unearned vacation and personal time off. That count carries a fine of not more than $10,000, no more than six years imprisonment, or both.

The complaint also cites the disappearance of a village-owned network-attached storage device and laptop, both of which contained information on village finances. Barton allegedly had primary use of those devices. All data on the hard drive was erased prior to June 29, 2023, according to Shaun L. Kasputis of Creative Computers in Tomah, which had sold the device to the Village of Wilton. Barton had resigned on June 28, 2023. 

In January, Barton faced nine counts ranging from tampering with public funds, unauthorized use of her identity as clerk, misuse of documents and theft of public funds. Each of the nine charges carried a potential of up to three years in prison and fines ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 for each count. 

Barton has a preliminary hearing set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, in Monroe County Circuit Court. 

See Jan. 11 article: Barton arrested, charged with mismanagement of village funds.