SIOUX FALLS, SD -
She admits to driving drunk and leading authorities on a high speed chase in May, but Thursday Mary Ann Giebink also admitted to embezzling thousands of dollars from her own law firm.
Giebink was arrested two months ago for leading Minnehaha County sheriff's deputies on a chase that reached 100 miles per hour. Thursday, Giebink pleaded guilty to that crime as well as her second DUI, but she also admitted to embezzlement.
Giebink was the majority owner of the Galland Law Firm in Sioux Falls before her May 7 arrest, but court documents filed Thursday say Giebink was committing crimes long before she sped away from authorities. Investigators say in the month leading up to the arrest Giebink wrote out more than $24,000 in checks from the client trust fund at her law firm.
In the last two months Giebink has gone from a hopeful legislative candidate and Sioux Falls lawyer to a convicted felon facing a dozen years in prison.
Giebink's law office is now closed but the latest charge came from an investigation that started at her law office after the May 7th high speed chase.
Just two days after her arrest one of Giebink's partners told police she had been writing checks out of the client trust account.
In the month of April alone investigators found that Giebink had written out $1,500 worth of checks to the Crow Bar and Casino in Sioux Falls, and another $500 check to the Corner Pub. Giebink also paid a $1,600 property tax bill with money from her law firm account, and wrote a $6,000 check to herself, she kept $1,000 for personal use.
When investigators questioned Giebink about the crimes she told them, "When I started at the Crow Bar that is when I went downhill. If you see anything from the Crow that was the day that things went bad."
Giebink's attorney has said his client is a recovering alcoholic who had a relapse during the May 7th chase. Authorities say Giebink has been cooperative throughout the investigation and that's why she agreed to plead guilty to the embezzlement charge the day it was filed.
"I would say it's unique that somebody would plea to a charge the day it was filed, but this has been an ongoing cooperative effort that all the parties were well informed of well in advance of today," Minnehaha County States Attorney Aaron McGowan said.
And Giebink knew what she was doing was wrong, because court documents say at the end of her police interview she said, "I admit that I have committed a felony, grand theft. I knew I was creating my own disaster."
Giebink has been disbarred and is no longer running for the legislature. Her plea agreement did not include any recommendations for sentencing, so she could be facing a maximum of 12 years in prison.
When KELOLAND News talked to Giebink she did not want to comment on her new charge Thursday.
Affidavit filed against Giebink
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