MARINETTE, Wis. -

A former officer in Marinette County was charged with forging and cashing checks to fund a gambling problem, according to authorities.

The complaint was filed Wednesday in Marinette County Circuit Court accusing Ryan R. Ilse, a former City of Marinette police officer, with two misdemeanor counts of theft by fraud. 

The complaint alleged that Ilse, 39, forged two checks worth $480 total from the department's Police Explorer fund and cashed them Dec. 7 at two local businesses. Police said Ilse was not authorized to write checks from the explorer fund and the city attorney denied signing them.

The complaint also alleged Ilse had a gambling problem.

A statement from the attorney general's office said if convicted, Ilse could face 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines.

Police Explorer groups provide educational training programs for young people interested in law enforcement.