A former city administrator in Humboldt is pleading guilty to charges she stole tens of thousands of dollars. In a plea hearing in Webster County Court, Laurie Ricklefs, formerly known as Laurie Bennett, changed her plea from not guilty to guilty to a charge of first-degree theft and a charge of felonious misconduct.

The plea drops one charge of first degree theft. Ricklefs stated during the hearing that she wrote checks to herself, money from the Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership, to which she was treasurer of. That stolen money totaled more than $92,000. The felonious misconduct count involves Ricklefs submitting an inaccurate invoice to the city of Humboldt for their membership dues to the Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership.

The theft charge is a Class C felony and is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The felonious misconduct charge is a Class D felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine. Judge Thomas Bice set a sentencing date for February 22nd.

By Chuck Shockley, KLGA, Algona