Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Woman who impersonated DA receives jail time

September 29, 2011

ELKHORN — A Linn Township woman who attempted to keep her boyfriend out of legal trouble by impersonating a Walworth County prosecutor was sentenced Sept. 30 to three years of probation.

As a condition of her probation, Michelle E. Irwin, 42, N1189 Highway 120, will have to spend four months in jail with work release privileges.

Irwin pleaded guilty to two counts of misappropriate identification information.

Irwin is accused of sending letters to potential witnesses in a jury trial against Tony M. Cantieri, 45, who faced a felony charge of sixth-offense drunken driving.

The letter stated the June 21 jury trial had been "canceled due to a guilty plea by the defendant," according to the criminal complaint.

On June 21, 2010 Cantieri pleaded guilty to sixth-offense drunken driving.

On Aug. 5, 2010 he was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of extended supervision.

However, that sentence won't begin until a probation revocation for his fifth-offense drunken driving conviction is completed.

On Nov. 12, Cantieri's probation was revoked and he was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of extended supervision.

According to the criminal complaint:

The parent of a witness contacted the District Attorney's Office after receiving the falsified letter.

The letter bore the signature of "Steven Madsen, Assistant District Attorney." However, the prosectuor's name is Steve Madson.

At the top lefthand corner of the letter, the Walworth County District Attorney's Office logo appeared in black and white.

Typically, the logo appears in color.

For the past month, according to a witness, Cantieri had been sending letters to Irwin that were addressed to "Missy Cantieri."

In the correspondence, there was discussion of not having witnesses testify.

A witness also told police he overheard Irwin tell another witness that he wouldn't have to testify because Cantieri had taken a plea deal.

Irwin told police she used copy and paste tools on her computer to create the letterheads.

Irwin said Cantieri sent her letters that asked her to do something so the witnesses wouldn't show up to court. Irwin said creating the letter was her idea.