By Shereen Siewert

The 62-year-old former manager of a downtown apartment complex is accused of stealing more than $187,000 from the business to fund his drug habit, according to court documents filed Wednesday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Mark Meurette booking photo

Mark R. Meurette, of Schofield, appeared Feb. 26 to face felony charges of theft in a business setting greater than $100,000. He was freed on a $2,500 signature bond.

An investigation began in November when an owner of the Landmark Corporation, which owns the Landmark Apartments at 221 Scott St., contacted police regarding discrepancies in Meurette’s financial reports.

When Meurette was confronted with the discrepancies, he allegedly admitted stealing about $15,000 in rent money, blaming the thefts on a drug habit. But an accountant later estimated the thefts at a much higher amount: about $160,000, court documents show.

In addition to stealing cash rent money, Meurette allegedly falsified his work records and was paid about $17,675 for hours he never worked, court records state. Investigators compared his stated hours with security camera footage to confirm the thefts, police said.

However, further investigation revealed Meurette stole more than $176,000 by taking rent money and falsifying his work hours. The total loss to the business, including accounting fees, is estimated at $181,000.

Meurette will next appear in court March 30 for a preliminary hearing, when a judge will determine if enough evidence exists to move forward to trial. He was ordered to have no contact with the Landmark owners, principals and property holdings.

He faces up to 12 1/2 years in the Wisconsin Prison System if he is convicted on the single charge filed against him.