Morigeau plans to make amends
District Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher deferred the imposition of sentencing for six years for a St. Ignatius woman who was convicted of stealing money from the St. Ignatius Fire Auxiliary. The sentence was handed down in Polson on Nov. 19.
Annie Morigeau, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in a plea agreement reached on Aug. 21 that dismissed one felony count of forgery.
Christopher said the sentencing should serve two purposes: for Morigeau to claim responsibility for her actions and to pay back the stolen money. She ordered Morigeau to write a letter to the community and perform 100 hours of community service. She also gave Morigeau credit for one day of jail time already served. Morigeau has already paid back $33,500, which leaves a balance of $11,967.01.
Morigeau’s attorney, Britt Cotter, of Polson, told the court that his client would be willing to perform 100 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to the residents of St. Ignatius. Morigeau told the court: “I’m more than willing to do community service or write the letter. I have a lot of making up to do for my family, for the community. I always had a really good reputation in the community, which I know I’ve lost, and I’ve lost their respect, and I’ve lost their trust.”
According to court records, in June of 2019, officials with the St. Ignatius fire department began suspecting discrepancies with the auxiliary’s bank accounts. When Morigeau, who was the auxiliary’s treasurer, could not provide documents concerning the accounts and failed to show up for meetings, a larger investigation was launched.
It was later determined that between Dec. 2, 2016, and May 22, 2019, Morigeau had taken more than $59,000. It was just recently determined that some purchases were legitimate and the parties agreed on a figure of $45,467.01.
Some of the alleged thefts involved not making deposits and unauthorized withdrawals. Prosecutors said some checks were written for Morigeau’s personal bills. Morigeau was also accused of forging the signature of a former co-signer on the account.
Two board members of the auxiliary, secretary Reece Bailey and treasurer Matt Hout, testified at Morigeau’s sentencing. Both shared concerns that Morigeau’s actions may discourage future community support for the auxiliary. Bailey testified that he was concerned about a “loss of community trust.”
Both testified that they wanted the record to show that in their capacities as secretary and treasurer they did their due diligence to identify monies that were misappropriated.