Three Oshkosh, Wisconsin, women each face a felony theft charge after authorities say they collectively stole more than $140,000 in lottery tickets from their employer during the course of three years.
Sheila A. Coates, 32, Nicole A. Cushman, 30, and Christina A. Jacques, 35, all appeared Monday in Winnebago County Circuit Court, where Commissioner Bryan Keberlein set $1,000 signature bonds and scheduled preliminary hearings for each defendant.
According to the criminal complaint, the owner of Bob's Citgo contacted Oshkosh police Jan. 25, 2015, after finding out some of his employees were stealing lottery tickets from the business and giving them to someone in exchange for drugs.
Jacques admitted to the owner and later to investigators that she had been stealing lottery tickets since October 2014 to support a drug habit. She said she would buy pills from Cushman and a man named Ray, in exchange for winning lottery tickets and that Coates also stole lottery tickets.
The owner provided investigators with documents that showed the store's finances did not balance only on the days the three defendants worked. He determined that Jacques stole $42,800 from August 2013 to January 2015; Coates stole $9,520 from October 2014 to January 2015; and Cushman stole $87,900 from 2012 to January 2015.
Jacques told investigators that the $42,800 number did not seem accurate but could not remember how many tickets she had taken. Cushman admitted to taking the tickets but did not realize how many, saying she became addicted to hydrocodone after having a cesarean section surgery.
At first, Coates said she would take lottery tickets and then have that amount deducted from her paycheck — so much so that she often would end up without any take-home pay — which the owner later told investigators was not allowed. Coates later admitted she also gave tickets to a man named Ray, from whom she bought pain pills, the complaint said.
If convicted, Coates could face a maximum sentence of six years in prison, and Jacques and Cushman could each face 10 years. Their next court appearances are scheduled for March 7, 10 and 17, respectively.
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