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Press Release

West Salem Woman Sentenced to 4 Years for Wire Fraud & Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin

MADISON, WIS. -- Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Barbara Snyder, 59, West Salem, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to four years in federal prison for engaging in a wire fraud scheme and filing a false income tax return.   Snyder pleaded guilty to these charges on August 25, 2017.


Snyder served as the secretary and accounting clerk for St. Patrick’s Church in Onalaska, Wis.  Between 2006 and 2015, Snyder embezzled approximately $832,210 of church collections.  Although she was entrusted to deposit all of the church collections, Snyder took a portion of the funds for herself.  Snyder used these funds for gambling.


To avoid detection, Snyder discarded records of church collections, created false entries in accounting records, and lied to church auditors.  During the same time period, Snyder filed a false Individual Income Tax Return for 2015, in which she underreported her gross income by failing to report the proceeds of her embezzlement.


Judge Peterson sentenced Snyder to a four-year period of imprisonment on the wire fraud charge, and a concurrent 12-month period of imprisonment on the tax charge.  Judge Peterson stated that the sentences send a message of community disapproval for Snyder’s conduct.   Judge Peterson admonished Snyder for resolutely concealing her conduct, and engaging in a scheme that had a dramatic impact on the church and the church community.   


The charges against her are the result of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation, with the cooperation of St. Patrick’s Church and the Diocese of La Crosse.  The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonio M. Trillo. 


Updated November 9, 2017

Financial Fraud