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Ex-school principal to be sentenced on embezzlement conviction

When people are put in positions of power and trust, it is expected that they will uphold that trust and use that power judiciously. Unfortunately, one elementary school principal who oversaw a Catholic school in Charlevoix, Michigan, violated that trust and now will have to pay the price in the form of possible prison time.

The woman pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement for allegedly taking $100,000 from the school and other organizations. She was the principal at St. Mary Elementary School for nearly four years before she resigned under pressure in March 2010. She was eventually arrested Nov. 1, 2011.

As a result of her guilty pleas, the woman faces up to five years' imprisonment on each count. She was also ordered to repay $75,000 in restitution, of which half will go to the diocese and half to a yet-to-be-determined organization. The charges represent a plea bargain from the original seven-count felony warrant she had been faced with; those charges included perjury for allegedly making false statements under oath during civil proceedings regarding her dismissal, which took place during an 18-month investigation into possible wrongdoing.

The woman had professed her innocence for some time after she left the school, and was even awarded a grant in 2011 from an independent Catholic group for what the woman claimed was the unjust loss of her job due to false accusations about misusing funds. At the time she said she would use the money to defray legal fees from a lawsuit she had filed against the diocese regarding her ousting.

Source: mlive.com, "Former northern Michigan Catholic school principal accused of embezzling $100,000 pleads guilty to lesser charge," Heidi Fenton, Mar. 10, 2012

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