(NNPA)—Miss Wisconsin USA Shaletta Porterfield has surrendered her crown as she faces identify theft charges. The 26-year-old beauty queen allegedly forged signatures of three business representatives on advertising contracts at a marketing company where she worked last summer, according to various Wisconsin-based newspapers.
The scheme was uncovered August 2010 when a former boss was asked to proof ads she hadn’t purchased, prompting her to alert authorities. She’s pleaded not guilty to misappropriating identity information to obtain money.
Porterfield’s attorney Robert F. Nagel said his client has no prior record and was under a lot of pressure to hit commission goals. She did not earn any money from forging the signatures, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He added that she left the job August 2010.
“It’s unfortunate, but she has a lot going for her, and she’s ready to move on,” Nagel said. He expects to resolve the case with a deferred prosecution agreement by July.
If convicted, Porterfield would face up to 6 years in prison or a maximum fine of $10,000 for each of the three counts, according to the Waunakee Tribune News.
Jordan Mari Morkin, Porterfield’s first runner-up in the competition, will assume the title and compete in the national Miss USA pageant next month in Las Vegas.
This isn’t the first time a Miss USA titleholder has been engulfed in a scandal. Last year, Miss USA Rima Fakih came under fire for participating in a stripper pole contest that was documented in photos, but she kept her title.