Lydia Johnson, a Michigan high school teacher who was in charge of coordinating student events such as homecoming and a student-parent trip, stole thousands of dollars from these funds.
According to Macomb County authorities, the money Johnson stole was spent as part of the $90,000 she spent last year playing penny slots at MGM Grand Detroit casino.
When her Dakota High School classroom was searched, authorities found several casino receipts next to the open and empty homecoming envelopes.
Johnson was charged with one count of embezzlement from a non-profit organization, $1,000 to $20,000. Her bond was set at $10,000.
If convicted, Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison.
Johnson was the school’s student activity coordinator from July 1, 2016, until her recent removal and was responsible for incoming and outgoing funds related to student events, according to the prosecutor’s office. The school is in Macomb Township.
Johnson was placed on administrative leave May 3 when district administrators discovered some accounting discrepancies in the school’s activities fund, according to a news release from Chippewa Valley Schools. Per district policy, Johnson was prohibited from being on any school premises, attending any school events and having contact with any students or staff without prior permission from the administration.
School officials and authorities said Johnson oversaw ticket sales for Dakota’s 2016 homecoming dance, which should have taken in nearly $30,000 based on attendance. She only deposited $11,000 into the school’s homecoming account, they said.A search of her classroom revealed several homecoming cash deposit envelopes that were torn open, but empty. Her bank records show 2016 cash deposits “far in excess of her salary,” the prosecutor’s office said.
School Superintendent Ron Roberts released a statement on the issue:
“We have committed our full support and cooperation to the Sheriff’s Department and the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office in this investigation. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that our board policies are followed and that our employees are acting in the best interest of our school community.”