A 36-year employee of Aase Haugen Homes has pleaded guilty to stealing from her former employer.

Nancy Elsbernd, 64, was charged Dec. 28 with first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct for taking money from the nursing home over several years.

She pleaded guilty in Winneshiek County District Court Tuesday to an amended trial information of five counts of first-degree theft and was sentenced to concurrent terms of up to 10 years in prison on each count. The prison sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for three to five years.

Aase Haugen Homes has incurred more than $600,000 in damages in connection with thefts, according to a statement of damages filed Friday by Winneshiek County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten. He said the nursing home incurred financial losses for the theft totaling $511,908 and expenses of $116,846. Aase Haugen has received $52,000 in insurance payments to date, leaving a balance due for restitution of $576,754, according to Van Der Maaten.

As part of Tuesday's sentencing order, Judge John Bauercamper ordered Elsbernd to repay all victims for their losses and ordered the DCS to prepare a plan of payment, providing for installment payments.

Elsbernd also was ordered to follow the recommendations of her mental health providers, complete a money management class and a cognitive restructuring program. She will be assessed by the DCS to determine the appropriate level of supervision, which may include residential placement.

According to a Decorah Police affidavit, Elsbernd took money from Aase Haugen for her own financial gain on a continuing basis, issuing checks to herself over at least the last few years.