Former Madison daycare director sentenced; ordered to repay over $200,000

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Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 11:00 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An Evansville woman has been ordered to spend the next two-and-a-half years behind bars and to pay back the more than $200,000 she stole from a Madison daycare.

On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Nichole Genz to 30 months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution to her former employer, Park Towne Development Corporation. Chief U.S. District Judge James Peterson told the 41-year-old Genz that the sentence is meant not only to deter her from breaking the law again; it’s also designed to serve as a warning to other would-be embezzlers.

Genz pleaded guilty in December to a single count of wire fraud after prosecutors alleged she helped rip off her employer over a six-year span while serving as the executive director of Learning Gardens.

Following a sentencing hearing that took more than seven hours, the judge acknowledged Genz was not the primary individual involved in the scheme – that was allegedly the company’s former accounting manager, who has since died – her participation allowed them to embezzle more than any single person could do, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office recounted.

Between 2013 and 2018, the pair managed to take company funds a variety of ways, prosecutors said. Those methods included diverting tuition checks to petty cash and taking that; cashing voided and altered company check; creating false bank statements; and misusing the company credit card.

As part of her plea agreement, Genz admitted to charging personal expenses on her company credit card and falsely claiming they were for meal service for children at Learning Gardens. She also admitted that many of the claimed business expenses were for a personally-owned ice cream shop business, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The maximum penalty she could have faced was 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

correction: The original version of the story identified the daycare as Leaning Gardens. It has been corrected to Learning Gardens.

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