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SIOUX CITY -- A worker at a downtown Sioux City hotel has pleaded not guilty to making more than $32,000 in fraudulent credit card transactions on hotel guests' credit cards.

Sandra Lalumendre, 35, of Sioux City, entered her written plea Friday in Woodbury County District Court to single counts of first-degree theft and credit card fraud.

According to court documents, from May 14 to Sept. 8, Lalumendre and Ethan Ehlers, who worked at the front desk of the Howard Johnson hotel, 707 Fourth St., fraudulently overcharged guests' credit cards, then forced a refund through the hotel's computer system onto a personal credit card. An investigation discovered the two split $32,703 in fraudulent refunds.

Evidence, such as credit card dispute forms mailed to the hotel, were shredded in order to hide their actions, which were discovered and reported by a co-worker, court documents said.

Ehlers, 19, of Sioux City, was arrested in December and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft and credit card fraud.

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