Woman accused of stealing thousands while working for Sacred Heart Hospital

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Chippewa Falls woman is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the hospital she worked for.

Prosecutors recently filed a charge of Theft of Movable Property against Marcia Arneson, 45. A criminal complaint says that, in May, a Sacred Heart Hospital officer told investigators that Arneson had stolen more than $6,000 from the hospital. The officer added that employees who worked for Arneson said they became suspicious after special events were held, and hundreds of dollars they brought in would apparently disappear.

The officer and other administrators had met with Arneson, who told them "I have a problem, I need help, I can't pay my bills." She was suspended from work, and later brought 15 $100 bills back to the hospital, saying she was sorry. After that, she brought several items she bought with the hospital credit card back to Sacred Heart.

The complaint goes on to say that an audit of Sacred Heart's Center for Healthy Living, where Arneson was a supervisor, showed that more than $6,300 was missing. Investigators say they also found that Arneson had been using a hospital credit card to buy things for herself, and using the hospital's catering services for her daughter's softball team. The investigation also shows that Arneson may have been stealing from the hospital for years, and that the amount of stolen money "may in fact be several times over what had been revealed by the audit."

In early June, Arenson's lawyer told investigators that his client had paid back $1,500. A day later, he said Arneson gave the hospital back more than $4,600 on top of that. A Sacred Heart spokesperson says Arneson was fired on May 24.