ELKHORN — Former Big Foot High School cafeteria manager Shelly Chisamore was sentenced Oct. 7 to three months in jail for stealing thousands of dollars from school vending machines.
Chisamore, 52, of Sharon, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor theft charges in a plea deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop a felony theft charge that could have sent her to prison for more than three years.
Walworth County Circuit Judge Phillip Koss sentenced Chisamore to three months in work-release jail, as well as 80 hours of community service and two years of probation following her release from jail.
The plea deal also required Chisamore to pay $12,000 in restitution to Big Foot High School, of which $10,000 will go to the school and $2,000 will go to the school’s insurance company.
Court records show that Chisamore completed the restitution before the Walworth County district attorney agreed to the plea bargain.
In court before her sentencing, Chisamore choked back tears while apologizing for the thefts.
“I want to say I’m sorry, and I’d like to thank the DA for working this out with me,” she said.
Koss invited a representative from Big Foot High School to address the court, but nobody came forward.
Chisamore’s current employers, the owners of Green Grocer & Deli in Williams Bay, presented a letter to the judge as a show of support for the defendant.
Green Grocer owners Jennifer Veith and Jane Larson stated that Chisamore has been an outstanding and trustworthy employee since July 2017. The letter also stated that while Chisamore has keys to the store and is responsible for balancing the cash register, there has never been any financial discrepancy in her work.
“She has been completely transparent with this ordeal, and we have full faith in her character and integrity,” the letter stated.
Veith and Larson also wrote that Chisamore is actively involved in the lives of her three children and that she should be home to support them rather than in prison.
Chisamore worked for Big Foot High School in Walworth since 2000, earning a salary of $41,479 a year as food service director.
According to the criminal charges, Big Foot school district administrator Doug Parker contacted the police May 9, 2019, after discovering discrepancies in the vending machine financial records.
The district attorney alleged that Chisamore stole more than $4,000 from vending machines at the school over six years, including $2,000 stolen in 2019.
Her employment at Big Foot was terminated after she was charged.
Chisamore at first denied any wrongdoing, telling investigators that she was using “surplus” vending machine money to buy extra cafeteria food for students. She originally pleaded not guilty, and her case was moving toward trial when she agreed to the plea deal.
Court records show that she waived her rights to a trial on Sept. 30 before showing up in court today to plead guilty.
The judge gave her 60 days to report to the county work-release jail for her three-month sentence.
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