The Kenosha woman accused of stealing over $345,000 from her local employer waived her preliminary hearing Wednesday morning and could face probation for her alleged crimes through a deal with prosecutors.
Diane C. Sigler, 55, was charged earlier this month with theft of moveable property valued over $100,000 and unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents, both felonies.
Sigler, a former employee of Expanded Technologies Corporation, allegedly stole more than $345,000 from the company by transferring funds to her own bank account over several years while she worked there.
The chief executive officer of the company that specializes in manufacturing floor protection products told investigators that her alleged actions left them on the verge of bankruptcy, according to the criminal complaint.
Sigler, who made her initial appearance at Intake Court last week, remains in custody on a $40,000 cash bond.
On Wednesday, Sigler appeared with public defender attorney Seth Johnson before Court Commissioner Loren Keating in the Pretrial Building Courtroom.
Sigler, who appeared handcuffed and in an orange prison jumpsuit, waived her preliminary hearing and Keating found probable cause exists that a felony was committed by Sigler. The case was bound over to Kenosha County Circuit Court for further proceedings.
Sigler pleaded not guilty.
Before Sigler waived her preliminary hearing her attorney said there was a preliminary hearing waver offer made.
“The offer is that if Ms. Sigler pleads guilty to Count 2 the state would dismiss and read in Count 1. The state at the time of sentencing would recommend probation but also require a stipulation to restitution. The offer is subject to further negotiations,” Seth said.
Seth said the offer is contingent upon bond compliance and the defense not challenging the prosecution or arrest.
Count 1 is theft of moveable property valued over $100,000, a Class C felony. Count 2 is unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents, a Class H felony.
The judicial pretrial is set for June 29 before Judge Anthony Milisauskas.
On April 12, a Kenosha Police officer met with the chief executive officer of Expanded Technologies who reported that Sigler, his accounts manager, had stolen more than $345,000 from his business’s checking account over the past several years, according to the criminal complaint.
The man said that he had suspected for about a year that money was missing from his company’s account, according to the complaint, and so he conducted a review. The man said he discovered that there were accounts associated with the business that did not exist so asked his bank for a full report.
On March 27, while he was in the process of his audit, Sigler reportedly contacted him and admitted to taking the funds because she needed the money and had spent it all.
Sigler was fired on April 11 and the chief executive officer reportedly said he kept employing her after her March confession was because she was the one who knew all of the banking and account passwords.
Sigler also reportedly told another employee that she “took money” and had been stealing since October 2020.
Sigler, according to the complaint, told the employee “I don’t want to go to prison, I don’t want to go to prison.”
The employee later went through some accounting software and found Sigler created fake vendor accounts that had the same or similar names as legitimate vendors.
Sigler would then reportedly create invoices and vouchers for the fake vendor and generate checks to pay the fake vendor’s vouchers before voiding out the vouchers from the system after the money was transferred.
A detective subpoenaed the bank where all the suspect vouchers and transfers were linked to and found it was owned by Sigler.
The detective, according to the complaint, found at least 130 fraudulent transactions totaling $345,499.06.
Investigators installed a recording program on the chief executive officer’s phone and recorded a conversation between he and Sigler. Sigler reportedly admitted to stealing the funds alone and promised to pay back the funds once she got a new job.
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