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Ziehli found guilty after plea bargain
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MONROE - Joyce Ziehli, accused of embezzling more than $850,000 from the New Glarus Home, was found guilty due to a no-contest plea after signing a plea agreement Tuesday.

Ziehli, 55, Belleville, was originally charged with six Class G felony counts of theft in a business setting over $10,000 but had the first count dismissed Tuesday in Green County Circuit Court after it was found there was insufficient evidence to include the first count.

Count one was dismissed because it lumped together the years from 2003 to 2006, and there was not enough bank records or incriminating information to include those three years.

Ziehli remains on bond while the Department of Corrections can schedule a pre-sentencing investigation that will delve into Ziehli's character and recommend a sentence to the court. A status conference was set for Dec. 16 so defense and prosecution can review the PSI before moving on to a sentencing hearing.

Ziehli, a former administrative secretary of the New Glarus Home, is suspected of using her position to complete hundreds of fraudulent transactions from 2007 to 2013. Ziehli had worked for the home for 31 years up until she was fired in January 2013 in the wake of the allegations she now faces.

Court records indicate Ziehli used a stamp of her former employer's signature to fill out checks either made out to cash or in Ziehli's name. She pulled the money from a resident account used for surplus spending cash for residents of the home. She also allegedly used some of the money to pay off credit card bills or deposited the money into her personal bank accounts.

Judge Thomas Vale's decision to accept Ziehli's plea and find her guilty removes the burden of the state prosecutor to find proof that Ziehli committed a crime. She will likely face a less severe punishment at a sentencing hearing that will be scheduled after the Dec. 16 status conference. The maximum penalty Ziehli could face for the five counts she was found guilty of is 50 years imprisonment or a fine of $125,000 or both. The victims, including the owner of the New Glarus Home, will also be seeking restitution after Ziehli is sentenced.