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Woman sentenced to 10 years prison for stealing from disabled adults

Woman sentenced to 10 years prison for stealing from disabled adults

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SIOUX CITY -- A former caretaker for disabled adults was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from her clients and using it to pay for furniture, clothes and a trip to Las Vegas.

Lisa Sembach-Preston mug

Sembach-Preston

Lisa Sembach-Preston, 50, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to two counts of dependent adult abuse and two counts of second-degree theft.

In addition to sentencing her to prison, District Judge Tod Deck ordered Sembach-Preston to repay $84,949 to Crossroads of Western Iowa, a Council Bluffs-based nonprofit that provides services to adults with disabilities and mental illnesses.

Before being sentenced, Sembach-Preston, who had since moved to Minnesota, apologized to her former employer, victims and her family and said she was guilty of the charges.

"There are no excuses or justifications for these actions," she said.

As part of a plea agreement, 36 other charges were dismissed.

Sembach-Preston admitted that as a program director and caretaker at Crossroads from February 2015 through April 2017, she was responsible for her clients' funds and spent them for her own personal use, not intending to repay the money.

Sioux City police arrested her in December 2017 after a lengthy investigation that identified at least 16 victims. Court documents filed at the time of her arrest said that Sembach-Preston would transfer money between the clients' bank accounts in order to keep them from being overdrawn.

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