Saturday, April 23, 2011

Woodbridge, Virginia High School crew president gets 12 months for embezzlement

The former president of Woodbridge High School’s crew association was sentenced this week to serve 12 months in jail for embezzlement.

William Frank Schwentner III, 40, of Lake Ridge, pleaded guilty in January to two counts of embezzlement for stealing over $68,000 from Woodbridge Crew Inc., the nonprofit booster club for the Woodbridge High School crew team.
According to court documents, Schwentner was the president of the group and began also serving as the treasurer in July 2009.
In March 2010, other members of the group’s board of directors began to notice problems with the group’s finances and soon discovered that Schwentner had been writing checks to himself from of the organization’s bank accounts, court documents state.
Schwentner used the money to make personal purchases and to pay off credit card debt, police and prosecutors said.
In court documents, defense attorney Bruce Blanchard said that Schwentner began taking money when “his family’s financial situation was precarious at best.”
He said Schwentner intended to use the money as a loan to cover personal expenses and pay it back, but eventually got carried away and lost track of how much money he had taken, Blanchard said in court documents.
In one case, Schwentner used a credit card belonging to Woodbridge Crew Inc. to purchase new kitchen cabinets for his house for about $2,300, according to a search warrant.
Schwentner admitted to stealing a total of $68,833.28 from the crew team, court documents state.
He was sentenced Thursday to serve 12 months in jail and five years of probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution to the crew association. According to court documents, Schwentner has paid back a portion of the money and still owes $38,354. Schwentner has already served five months in jail and will get credit for time served.
In court documents, parents of crew team members said the group, which gets money through fundraisers and donations, has been struggling financially since Schwentner’s theft, and has had to cut back on some purchases and programs, including a scholarship program for crew team members.
According to court documents, in October 2010, Schwentner was also charged with embezzling from his employer in Fairfax County, and is currently serving a six-month jail sentence there.

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