Ex-Iowa City Area Development aide charged in theft scheme

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The former office manager of the Iowa City Area Development Group is facing federal charges for a 13-year theft scheme in which she misspent more than a half-million dollars.

Court documents filed Wednesday show that Sheri Jelinek is charged with seven counts of wire fraud.

A plea agreement signed earlier this month calls for Jelinek to plead guilty to those charges, which each carry up to 20 years in prison.

It comes about five months after a state audit documented her embezzlement from the nonprofit, which promotes workforce and economic development and is funded by local businesses.

A charging document alleges that Jelinek used the group’s money from 2004 to 2017 for more than 10,000 unauthorized purchases on its credit card that totaled $502,000. The charges were personal in nature and included a wide array of online shopping, groceries, insurance and more.

In the plea agreement, Jelinek admits only that her theft was more than $150,000 and the full amount will be determined by the court.