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Published November 19, 2013, 08:27 PM

Wisconsin woman accused of stealing $170,000 faces 29 charges

An Ellsworth woman accused of stealing more than $170,000 from an auto dealership where she worked faces 29 felony charges -- 28 counts of theft and one count of fraudulent writings.

ELLSWORTH, Wis. -- An Ellsworth woman accused of stealing more than $170,000 from an auto dealership where she worked faces 29 felony charges -- 28 counts of theft and one count of fraudulent writings.

Susan M. Sterny, 49, was charged last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. She is accused of stealing the money from Ellsworth Ford, where she was the office manager, from July 2011 through February 2013.

The owners told police that Sterny would enter car deals on a computer, enter service charges, prepare financial statements and, at one point, write checks.

According to a criminal complaint, owners learned of the thefts when they discovered a check in March written to a credit union from the business’s account with Sterny’s name on the top. They found out the check, written for $3,917.33, went to Sterny’s credit card account.

Sterny later told police that she pulled off the scam by lowering the value of used cars to set up a fake payoff, according to the complaint.

The maximum combined penalty for all the charges is more than 150 years in prison.

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