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Saykally sentenced in Aqualand embezzlement case

RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) -- A 46 year old former Woodruff­ area woman has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to repay nearly three­quarters of a million dollars in restitution and fines. She had entered guilty pleas to embezzling the money over several years from the family business where she worked.

Lisa Saykally admitted to stealing $660,000 from Aqualand Manufacturing in Woodruff over 8 years. With tax ­related fines added in, the amount for repayment is $727,000.

Prosecutor Jodie Bednar­ Clemens said Saykally destroyed the family trust by using the money for a lavish lifestyle. Saykally's sister-­in-­law, Nadine Kuehneman said the family didn't suspect Saykally would be stealing from them.  "How could anyone steal money from a business and do it month after month year after year for more than a seven year period of time, totalling more than $650,000 without someone figuring it out."

Kuehneman said the business nearly went under, several people lost jobs and income because the money was disappearing into Saykally's personal accounts.

Bednar­ Clemens said the coldness of the thefts required a prison term of at least 8 years.

Judge Patrick O'Melia said prison was needed, but said Saykally had to be out of prison and earning money to repay at least some of it.  "It's more than that. It's theft from family. People that took care of you when you were young. And now you've drained their accounts, you've drained other family members accounts."

O'Melia also ordered related assets gathered from the illicit cash to be sold to begin the repayment, though he admitted it will be nearly impossible for Saykally to pay all the money back.

Saykally will spend several years after prison in either extended supervision or probation. She must maintain full employment as one of many conditions once released.

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