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Two people charged with embezzling money from a Canistota hotel

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CANISTOTA —Two people were arrested for grand theft after allegedly embezzling money from the Ortman Hotel and Cafe in Canistota.

In August, 40-year-old Wendy Garcia, of Canistota, and 58-year-old Edward Thomas, of Sioux Falls, were charged with grand theft for various incidents of making purchases with the hotel company's credit card and falsifying wages.

On Oct. 2, Thomas pleaded not guilty to grand theft of more than $2,500 and less than $5,000 and Garcia was granted a three-week continuance. Thomas and Garcia are scheduled to have preliminary hearings on Oct. 24.

According to court documents, between June 6, 2016, to May 8, 2017, Garcia used the Ortman Hotel and Cafe's company credit card, under the name of Canistota Hotel Inc., to make personal purchases of items valued between $5,000 and $100,000.

Garcia also paid herself multiple times, excess wages valued between $1,000 and $2,500 from Ortman Hotel and Cafe's, under the name of Canistota Hotel Inc., for bookkeeping services.

According to court documents, between May 12, 2016, and Feb. 10, 2017, Thomas used the Ortman Hotel and Cafe's, under the name of Canistota Hotel Inc., company credit card to make personal purchases of items valued between $5,000 and $100,000.

Grand theft of more than $5,000 but less than $100,000 is a Class 4 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Grand theft of more than $1,000 but less than or equal to $2,500 is a Class 6 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 2 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

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