Michelle Seidler was convicted of theft Monday by embezzling money from the North Platte Kids Academy day care.
Seidler, 44, is the former executive director of the academy.
She was arrested Aug. 22 and accused of embezzling nearly $33,000 from the day care. She was initially charged with three separate counts of theft by deception.
On Nov. 19, she pled not guilty to the charges.
Then, defense Attorney Robert Lindemeier worked out a deal with prosecutors. As part of the bargain, Seidler changed her plea to no contest. In exchange, the county dismissed a charge that Seidler over-billed the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for more than $10,000.
Prosecutors also dismissed an allegation of criminal impersonation for issuing checks to a former employee but diverting the money to her own account.
Seidler arrived in North Platte from Omaha on Aug. 1, 2016, to take charge of the day care.
Investigators said her misdeeds soon began and continued for more than a year. She was fired Jan. 31, 2018.
According to court affidavits signed by law officers, investigators found 75 credit and debit purchases she made for personal items while she was the director.
The first purchase was Aug. 10, 2016 – just 10 days after she started the job. Personal purchases amounted to more than $7,000, plus $1,000 cash back, according to the charges.
Court affidavits show that $2,000 in cash payments for day care went unaccounted for. She also set up an additional telephone line, bought two I-phones and accessories worth another $4,000 and paid five personal garnishments of her own totaling $1,500, without deducting the amounts from her paycheck.
In addition, she made personal insurance payments and charged them to the business. Records indicate she did not pay for day care for her child, and she also overpaid herself to the tune of about $1,300.
Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch told Seidler she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
He ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for May 5.
The North Platte Kids Academy accommodates children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. It is fully licensed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and is a 501(c) nonprofit organization.
DUI – third
In other Lincoln County District Court rulings Monday, Joseph Dodson was convicted of third offense driving under the influence and sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years of probation, a five-year license revocation and fined $1,000.
Defense Attorney Kent Florom said Dodson, 47, has changed since he was arrested on June 3.
“It was a life changer for him,” Florom said. “He hasn’t had anything to drink since then and he is employed.”
“Hopefully you have learned your lesson,” Birch said, and then added some incentive to Dodson’s plans to stay sober.
Birch gave Dodson dollar-for-dollar credit against his fine for the cost of the counseling or treatment he takes during probation.
“I am more interested in you successfully completing probation than I am you paying a fine,” he said.
Failure to appear
Also, Kyra Goodall, 18, failed to appear for arraignment on two counts of possession of methamphetamine.
Defense Attorney Blaine Gillett asked that she have more time to appear Monday, saying she had called and said she was on her way.
Birch moved the case to the end of the morning docket, but she didn’t make it by noon, when the session was over.
Again, Gillett asked for a continuance since she had called him.
County Attorney Rebecca Harling objected.
“I find it difficult to believe that person on the phone was her,” she said.
Birch issued a bench warrant for her arrest.
Michael Eggers was sentenced to 180 days in jail for possession of a dangerous weapon — a machete with a 9-inch blade — on Nov. 29. Eggers pled guilty to the charge. The jail time will be followed by 9 months of supervised probation.
Nathan Padgett was sentenced to 180 days for domestic assault and possession of methamphetamine. He was charged in October. The jail time will be followed by 9 months of supervised probation.
Marcus Bailey was sentenced to 180 days for violating probation. Bailey has not been successful in treatment, Defense Attorney Russ Jones said. The jail sentence will be followed by 9 months of supervised probation.
David Dowart was convicted of first-degree forgery for trying to buy cigarettes and soda with a counterfeit $100 bill at the Family Dollar store on Jan. 29. Dorwart pled guilty. He was sentenced to 90 days, plus 9 months of supervised probation when he gets out of jail.
Bradley Fletcher was convicted of third-degree assault of an officer and reckless driving, Sentencing is scheduled for April 8.
Likewise, Joseph Clark was convicted of third-degree assault of an officer and sentencing is scheduled April 8.
Also, Kari Bock, who faces a child pornography charge, will be able to have supervised phone calls with her children, who are in Utah. Defense Attorney Blaine Gillett said Bock is cooperating with investigators, and the calls would be supervised by the children’s father or another adult.
Deputy County Attorney Angela Franz had no objections.
Bock is out of jail on bail.