Police: Brookfield man stole $44K+ worth of hearing aids from his employer, resold them for less
WAUKESHA COUNTY — Charges were filed Wednesday, Aug. 14 against Matthew J. Schultz, a Brookfield man accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of hearing aid products from his Elm Grove employer.
According to a criminal complaint, on Aug. 5, the owner of HH & W Hearing Aids contacted police to report 34 hearing aids were missing, valued at more than $38,000. The company’s bookkeeper later provided an updated list, with a total updated cost of more than $44,000.
The bookkeeper said she noticed several hearing aids marked as received at the business, placed into inventory between Aug. 9, 2017 and Feb. 6, 2019, but they weren’t properly registered as sold to any customers. She said Schultz was previously responsible for inventory control, sales, and other office tasks, noting he was “released from employment” around July 20 for “nonperformance of his duties.”
The bookkeeper added Schultz was also assigned to call a hearing aid vendor or register hearing aids online after they were sold to a customer. An investigation revealed of the 34 missing hearing aids, 30 weren’t registered to anyone. Four were registered with a name and phone number, but no other information, which wasn’t standard practice at the business. The bookkeeper said there was no record of money received or audiograms completed prior to the sale for the four partially registered hearing aids. She provided police with a list of the stolen hearing aids, with serial numbers.
The complaint said on Aug. 12, a customer went to the Elm Grove Police Department and said he wrote two checks for $1,000 each to Schultz for payment for the two hearing aids he received from Schultz. The serial number matched serial numbers from the business, but HH &W Hearing Aids never received money for them. He provided copies of the checks issued to Schultz, which were deposited into Schultz’s account within days.
A second customer provided police with photographs of a FedEx box with Schultz’s return address which he received the hearing aids in. He said he met Schultz years ago and shared with him that he was hearing impaired and Schultz told him “if he was ever in need of hearing aids, (Schultz) could get him a deal.” He said he had no idea the products he purchased from Schultz were stolen. The complaint said the package listed serial numbers that matched the serial numbers on record at HH & W Hearing Aids, but they never received money for them.
Schultz was arrested at his home as the search warrant was executed. The complaint said while he was being transported to jail, officers noticed he had a hearing aid in each of his ears — which were seized at the jail. The serial numbers were on the list of missing hearing aids provided by the HH& W Hearing Aids bookkeeper.
Schultz made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday, and he was released on $2,500 signature bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 19.
Police asked that anyone who may have purchased hearing aids from Schultz, rather than through HH &W Hearing Aids, please call 262-786-4141.