MADISON––A prosecuting attorney for Burnett County has been charged with a misdemeanor charge of theft – false representation in Dane County.
Daniel Steffen has served as ADA (assistant district attorney) for Burnett County for the last two years. He was supposed to start as ADA in Polk County on Oct. 14, although, Polk County DA’s office has since rescinded the offer.
The Burnett County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Steffen will remain as ADA in Burnett County.
According to the criminal complaint, in August 2018 DCI (Department of Criminal Investigation) Special Agents spoke with Michelle Viste, Executive Director of the Office of Crime Victim Services, about a concern she had with a recent reimbursement request from a Department of Justice conference in Madison.
The one-day training on domestic violence was attended by Steffen and another person identified as BC in the complaint. It states BC is the victim witness coordinator for Polk County’s DA office.
The two stayed in the same hotel room the night before the conference. Steffen submitted a reimbursement form and hotel receipt for the night before the training. However, the name on the receipt was changed to Steffen, the room number was also changed, and the credit card number blacked out.
BC made the reservations for the day before the conference and they stayed at the hotel together, but Steffen also stayed the night of the conference, which was not approved by the DOJ.
Steffen was then asked to resubmit his reimbursement documents and he provided a travel voucher signed by himself but not a supervisor.
Investigators met with the hotel staff and found out Steffen stayed Thursday July 19 and July 20. They confirmed he stayed in the same room both nights.
When Steffen met with investigators he admitted he attended the training, stayed in the hotel room with BC and that BC paid for the room on her credit card and that he paid it back later. Steffen told investigators he thought he was allowed to ask for reimbursement for the hotel room on the second night.
Steffen did admit to changing the room number for the reimbursement. He told investigators he did not want people to know he and BC stayed in the same room. When they asked about blacking out the credit card numbers he responded he always does that. However, the first set of reimbursements has Steffen’s personal credit card number and is not blacked out.
BC told investigators she made the reservation. She allegedly listed the first night under her name and the second night under Steffen’s name.
Steffen was in court last week for his initial appearance and entered a plea of not guilty. He is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 27 for his final pre-trial appearance in front of Judge Nicholas McNamara.
If found guilty he faces a total of $5,000 in fines, or four and a half months imprisoned, or both.