Former employee racks up $20,000 phone bill on county phone

Keller Russell

Former employee racks up $20,000 phone bill on county phone

CREATED Nov. 14, 2011 - UPDATED: Nov. 14, 2011

MILWAUKEE- She was supposed to be working as a jail nurse in downtown Milwaukee, but court documents show Sandra Virgo spent plenty of that time talking on the phone, long distance.

Investigators say Virgo made nearly $20,000 worth of personal, international phone calls on a work phone over the course of two years.  The District Attorney's Office tells TODAY'S TMJ4 many of those expensive calls were to Virgo's family in Jamaica.

For Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, "20,000 dollars of tax payer money that we'll never see again."

The county's IT department discovered the log of calls and turned the activity into the sheriff earlier this year.

He wants to press criminal charges.

"To me the aggravated nature of what went on here is more than just a rules violation," Sheriff Clarke told TODAY'S TMJ4.

But District Attorney John Chisholm tells TODAY'S TMJ4 there's no law on the books for this kind of behavior.

"She's not breaking the law," said Chisholm.

Chisholm said the woman's actions aren't considered theft.

State law defines theft as the "intentional taking of movable property." Chisholm also cited statutes as to why it's not considered misconduct in public office or a range of other laws you might think she'd be breaking.

Court records show Virgo even admitted to the calls, still, it's not criminal.

"The law is not designed to address this particular circumstances," said Chisholm.

Sheriff Clarke finds that hard to believe, saying "My initial reaction was wow. From a prosecution stand point there is something horribly wrong that will all the volumes, literally volumes of criminal statues that exist in the State of Wisconsin there isn't one that would fit this type of activity."

TODAY'S TMJ4 went by Virgo's most recent address in Milwaukee. No one answered. Public records show her current address may now be in Illinois.

The District Attorney claims the loss of tax payer dollars could have been avoided with better oversight.

"It's lax oversight. we're talking about two year period in which almost 20 thousand dollars in phone bills were directed out of the county," said Chisholm. "Somebody during that time should have figured out this was an inappropriate use of county facilities."

Virgo has been fired, pending a review by the county's Personnel Board.