CF woman sentenced for embezzlement

LAURA SARTORI

CRYSTAL FALLS — A Crystal Falls woman who embezzled about $90,000 from Lake Shore Systems/Oldenburg Group over a three-year period while the company was going through a cash flow shortage has been sentenced to a combination of jail time, community service and probation.

Iron County Trial Court Judge C. Joseph Schwedler ordered 54-year-old Laura Lee Sartori to spend 60 days in jail, complete 30 days of community service and serve two years of probation. She also must pay up to $125,694.27 in restitution, which includes money embezzled and forensic fees, but the judge will honor any civil case agreement that reduces that amount.

Sartori’s lack of a criminal record put her Michigan sentencing guideline range at zero to six months, Schwedler noted.

Sartori previously pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement by an agent or trustee-between $1,000 and $20,000 as part of a plea deal.

She took money from Lake Shore Systems/Oldenburg Group in Iron River between October 2013 and October 2016 while employed in human resources. She would use different means to get the funds, such as improperly using the company credit card and submitting incorrect reimbursement requests, according to reports.

This was a case of a good person making a bad decision, defense attorney Peter Ryan told the court. Sartori thought she would do it once and repay her employer but instead got caught in a cycle of repetition, he said.

Sartori lost her initial job, lost a subsequent job after her conviction and now will have a hard time finding employment, Ryan added.

Sartori told the court she is sorry for her mistakes and will continue to make positive changes in her life.

Iron County Assistant Prosecutor Hannah Goodman pointed out Sartori stole countless times over a period of years and only stopped because she was caught.

A representative from Lake Shore Systems/Oldenburg Group said Sartori was stealing thousands of dollars at a time when the company was struggling to pay its suppliers and employees were nervous about their job security. Sartori had a position of special trust within the company, with the power to hire and fire and know everything about employees, and now employees are skeptical of management, the representative said.

Nikki Younk can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 41, or nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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