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More MS news articles for April 2003

Woman who stole donations gets 2 years in prison

March 22, 2003
By Tom Kertscher
Journal Sentinel

Barbara Jean Oliver, who stole thousands of dollars of charitable donations that she solicited door to door in Racine and Mount Pleasant, was ordered Friday to spend two years in prison and three years on extended supervision.

Oliver, 54, of the 800 block of Grand Ave. in Racine, was immediately taken into custody after the sentencing in the court of Circuit Judge Allan Torhorst.

Plea bargain negotiations had led the district attorney's office and the public defender's office to recommend a four-month jail term. That spurred Mount Pleasant police investigator Doug Chaussee to formally object to the plea bargain and to request that Oliver's victims write Torhorst demanding a harsher sentence; more than a dozen did.

A criminal complaint alleged that Oliver pocketed $50,000 while posing as a solicitor for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Prosecutors provided evidence they said showed she had taken at least $24,000, mostly from individual amounts of less than $25.

Oliver had been convicted of misdemeanor retail theft four times since 1999. In the soliciting case, she pleaded no contest to a felony theft charge that carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

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