Delavan woman accepts plea agreement in embezzlement case

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Jonah Beleckis | August 7, 2017

ELKHORN—A Delavan woman who once worked for Lakeshore Equine Services accepted a plea agreement Friday and pleaded no contest to a reduced misdemeanor theft charge.

Heidi A. Kuhnke was accused of embezzling $170,013.69 from the Darien veterinarian sometime between June 2006 and March 2010, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint was filed by a special prosecutor after the Walworth County District Attorney's Office repeatedly declined to prosecute the case.

Per the agreement, Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper amended the theft by employee charge Kuhnke faced to misdemeanor theft.

Judge Kristine Drettwan found Kuhnke guilty Friday.

At sentencing, both sides will recommend a one year of probation with an imposed and stayed nine months in jail with work-release privileges.

Conditions of Kuhnke's probation include maintaining full-time employment, paying restitution and having no contact with the victim or Lakeshore Equine Services.

Sentencing could not take place Friday because the parties were still working out restitution details.

Kuhnke was accused of altering credit card bills to show that payments were made to companies Lakeshore worked with rather than businesses where Kuhnke had used the credit card, according to the complaint.

A jury from a 2015 civil suit found Kuhke responsible for the thefts, but Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo said last year she declined to prosecute the case because of lack of evidence and credibility issues with the business owner, Andrea McGowan Zillmer.

Kuhnke will be sentenced at 11 a.m. Oct. 11.

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