Saturday, February 22, 2014

Former McBain school secretary waives prelim in alleged embezzlement

 A former McBain Rural Agricultural School secretary waived her right to a preliminary exam Wednesday in Missaukee County’s 84th District Court on an embezzlement charge and is expected to be arraigned in circuit court sometime early next month.

Dawn Lynette Boonstra, 43, of McBain, has been charged with embezzlement by an agent or trustee of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000.

Boonstra had worked for the school system for 14 years but was fired from her position in December some time before Christmas break, according to Superintendent Mike Harris.

The matter came to the school's attention when a shortage in a fund was not enough to cover expenses. Boonstra allegedly embezzled funds that had been collected by student fundraisers.

Boonstra was represented in court Wednesday afternoon by attorney Mark Mitchell of Cadillac.

Standing in court, Boonstra quietly said, “yes,” when Judge Charles Parsons asked if she was aware that by law she was entitled to a preliminary exam in district court. The waiving of the preliminary exam means the case may move ahead to circuit court.

The investigation is being handled by the Missaukee County Sheriff's Department.

If convicted, Boonstra could face a maximum of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 or three times the amount in question.

Parsons agreed to continue terms of Boonstra's bond, which is a personal recognizance bond. Prosecuting Attorney William Donnelly Jr. noted Boonstra has no prior criminal history.

Mitchell declined to comment on behalf of his client.

Harris declined to comment other than to say the school administration has been working with the prosecutor's office in the matter.

“We are looking forward to a speedy resolution

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