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Sioux City hotel worker sentenced to probation for credit card scheme

Sioux City hotel worker sentenced to probation for credit card scheme

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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City woman has been placed on probation for making thousands of dollars in fraudulent transactions on hotel guests' credit cards.

Sandra Lalumendre mugshot

Lalumendre

Sandra Lalumendre, 36, pleaded guilty Monday in Woodbury County District Court to first-degree theft. A charge of credit card fraud was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

District Judge Steven Andreasen suspended a 10-year prison sentence and placed Lalumendre on probation for five years.

For nearly four months in 2018, Lalumendre and Ethan Ehlers, who worked at the front desk of the former Howard Johnson at 707 Fourth St., 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 then split the money with Lalumendre, who was his manager.

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Evidence, such as credit card dispute forms mailed to the hotel, was shredded in order to hide their actions, according to court documents.

Ethan Ehlers, 20, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court in June to first-degree theft and was placed on probation.

The two were ordered to jointly pay $10,000 in restitution, the amount not covered by insurance, to the hotel.

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