Saturday, January 25, 2014

Former McBain school secretary charged with embezzling student fundraisers

 A former secretary for McBain Rural Agricultural Schools has been charged in Missaukee County with stealing funds collected for student fundraisers.

Dawn Lynette Boonstra, 43, of McBain, has been arraigned in 84th District Court on a count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000, according to court records. Boonstra was a secretary at McBain High School and had worked for the school system for 14 years, according to Superintendent Mike Harris.

Boonstra was fired from her position in December prior to the Christmas break, Harris said.

The secretary had been watched for “some time,” said Harris, who described the funds that were taken as internal accounts for student fundraisers.

Exactly how much money is suspected of being missing is still in the process of being determined, although Missaukee County Prosecuting Attorney William Donnelly Jr. said he is comfortable that the amount is more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. Forensic accountants are looking into the matter and intend to come up with an estimate, Donnelly said.

The matter came to the school’s attention when a shortage in the fund was not enough to cover expenses, according to Donnelly.

“It's too bad,” Donnelly said.

Boonstra was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Embezzlement by an agent or trustee of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 or three times the amount in question.

A preliminary exam is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19.

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