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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City man was placed on probation after pleading guilty Wednesday to making thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card transactions on hotel guests' credit cards.

Ethan Ehlers mugshot

Ehlers

Ethan Ehlers, 19, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to one count of first-degree theft. A charge of credit card fraud was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

District Judge Tod Deck suspended a 10-year prison sentence and placed Ehlers on probation for three years.

Ehlers worked at the front desk of the former Howard Johnson at 707 Fourth St., and for nearly four months in 2018 overcharged guests' credit cards by forcing refunds through the hotel's computer system onto a personal credit card. An investigation discovered $32,703 in fraudulent charges after a co-worker discovered evidence of the scheme and reported it to police.

Ehlers is alleged to have split the money with his manager, Sandra Lalumendre, 36, of Sioux City, who is scheduled to stand trial in August on charges of first-degree theft and credit card fraud.

Ehlers must pay $10,000 in restitution, the amount not covered by insurance, to the hotel jointly with Lalumendre.

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