Wisconsin’s Probation Officer Accused of Filching Victim’s $13K Restitution

Wisconsin’s Probation Officer Accused of Filching Victim’s $13K Restitution

A former state probation official is facing felony charges after being accused of intercepting and pocketing $12,900 in restitution money intended for a crime victim.

According to online court documents, an arrest warrant was issued on Friday for Thursday Booker, 39, of Milwaukee, a Wisconsin Department of Corrections employee.

Booker has been charged with misconduct in public office, theft in a business setting involving $10,000 to $100,000, money laundering, illegal use of personal identifying information or papers, and forgery, all crimes. Booker’s duties at the DOC included collecting payments from her probationers to cover court charges, supervision fees, and restitution payments.

One of her probationers was a man named RP who, according to the complaint, sought to provide more financial support to the victim of his crime despite having no outstanding restitution orders or court expenses. He provided Booker money orders with the agreement that she would deliver them to the victim.

Police believe she kept the money orders and used them to pay for personal costs between May 2022 and October 2023.

The online court records do not show whether she has a counsel representing her. Booker quit approximately two months ago, according to Beth Hardtke, the correctional department’s director of communications.

According to a complaint filed on May 16,

Booker was assigned to monitor RP in early 2021 until November when he was reassigned to a different agent.

On November 17, the man gave the new agent a $500 money order to deliver to his victim. It’s unclear what offense RP committed. The new agent discovered that RP owed no money. He persisted in handing over the money order to the victim, as he had done for the past year.

That prompted an investigation.

In January, RP informed detectives that in 2022, he received a letter from the victim of his crime in which she expressed her forgiveness. She proceeded to tell him about her current situation. According to the lawsuit, RP felt horrible about his earlier conduct and wanted to help his victim financially, so he inquired Booker about providing money orders.

Booker’s probationer assumed that if he gave Booker money, she would give it to the victim. After all, it was a method for paying court-ordered reparations.

RP handed Booker several money orders over time, which she would pick up at his residence.

According to the complaint, the victim told investigators that she had never been offered any additional money beyond the court-ordered restitution, nor had she ever received any extra cash from the Department of Corrections. The prison department’s program notes from RP’s April 7, 2022 visit revealed that he received a letter from his victim congratulating him for paying complete reparations.

Another note, dated April 27, 2022, indicated that he planned to provide additional financial assistance for her. Booker indicated in the note that it would be fine as long as RP did not contact the victim, according to the paper.

According to the lawsuit, Booker did not record any additional payments by RP after May 2022, when the embezzlement allegedly occurred. The only exception was a $360 supervision payment on February 6, 2023.

Booker began documenting in her program notes after May 23, 2023, that RP had paid all supervision fees and restitution, as well as having a “credit” on his account.

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