A former Kingsley funeral director will be out on probation after a judge suspended his prison sentence this week.
Mark Rohde, of Kingsley, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $175,000 from the funeral home where he was part-owner.
He was convicted of theft in the first degree, a class C felony, and tax evasion, a class D felony.
At his original sentencing in August 2008, Rohde's prison sentence had been suspended, but a judge sent him to jail in March after Rohde violated probation orders.
After 3 1/2 months in jail, Rohde's testimony convinced the court of his sincere acceptance of responsibility, according to District Judge James Scott.
"He has paid virtually all his restitution on the theft charge and could complete further recommended programs just as easily in a community-based setting as in prison," Scott said in a court order.
Scott assigned Rohde to two years of probation and maintained the existing no contact order with the victims. He also ordered Rohde to enroll in a victim empathy program.
Rohde's original charges arose after Dec. 13, 2007, when Joel Johnson contacted the sheriff's office and reported missing funds from the business he shared with Rohde.
After investigation by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, the Plymouth County Attorney's Office and the Internal Revenue Service, Rohde was arrested and charged.
Rohde had entered into a partnership with Johnson in early 2003, according to information from the sheriff's office.
Under the Mauer-Johnson-Earnest Funeral Homes, Inc. corporation, Rohde was 35 percent owner of Rohde-Earnest Funeral Home in Kingsley and Earnest-Rohde Funeral Home in Marcus.
Their partnership ended in April 2007.