Woman accused of stealing from wrestling club faces welfare fraud charges

Woman pleads guilty in Stoughton Wrestling Club embezzlement
Deanna Braaten, 50, of Stoughton

A Stoughton woman accused of embezzling funds from a wrestling club is facing welfare fraud charges, officials said.

The Stoughton Police Department said in a news release Friday afternoon that new charges against 50-year-old Deanna R. Braaten stem from suspected unreported income that would have affected her welfare eligibility. Online court records show Braaten was charged in Dane County with three felony charges Wednesday.

In May, police said that when Braaten as treasurer for the Viking Wrestling Club, she took funds for personal use, depleting the club’s accounts. She was also accused of taking $270,000 from a vulnerable adult in Stoughton.

According to the news release Friday, Dane County Human Services began investigating benefits Braaten received over a multiyear period. Records showed she received medical assistance and food stamp funds during the same time she is accused of embezzling money from the wrestling club and an elderly person.

Police said the income she received from those sources was not reported to Dane County Human Services, resulting in felony overpayment of benefits.

Braaten faces three additional charges accusing her of welfare fraud. The loss to Badgercare was estimated at more than $22,000 and the loss to the food stamps program was more than $7,000, according to the news release.

A status conference is scheduled Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. on the medical assistance fraud charges.

Online court records did not indicate the next court date scheduled in the 13 charges Braaten faces in the wrestling club theft case.