Monday, July 21, 2014

$150,000 music booster embezzler faked bank records, court documents allege

The treasurer of the Kenowa Hills Schools music booster program allegedly fabricated bank letters in an effort to cover up checks she wrote to herself from a booster account.

Details of admissions made by Robyn Amy Heintz, 40, are contained in court documents in 63rd District Court in Grand Rapids Township.

Prosecutors on Thursday, July 10, authorized a warrant for embezzlement of more than $100,000 against Heintz, who was elected to the Kenowa Hills Instrumental Music Boosters board in June 2010 and served as treasurer until June of this year.

In court documents, investigators allege she took more than $150,000.

Trouble with the bank account came to light in April, when board members were notified that a Huntington Bank account had reached a negative balance and "there were several suspicious debit transactions noted on the bank statement."

At that point, Heintz told board members she would contact Huntington to resolve the problem.

"Heintz would later admit to creating falsified letters to the board members from the bank, explaining that the charges were erroneously charged to the wrong account and the money had been restored," Kent County sheriff's investigators wrote in a court affidavit.

It wasn't clear how long the ruse succeeded, but by early May, board members called police to report possible fraud.

Investigators looked at the financial records and determined that suspicious charges began appearing in August 2010 and continued throughout Heintz's term. They allege the embezzlement reached nearly $200,000.

Heintz, in an interview with police, told detectives she replaced some of the money. However, police allege that more than $150,000 remains missing.

In an alleged confession, she told police she wrote checks to herself for cash and also used a bank-issued debit card for personal expenses.

She is to be arraigned in 63rd District Court at a later date.

The music booster program is described as a "parent-led, volunteer organization that exists to support the Kenowa Hills Public Schools band and orchestra programs."

The most recent tax documents available for the booster program, a 2011 filing, show it took in more than $45,000 after operating expenses.

That year, the program had a fund balance of nearly $80,000, according to the 990-EZ form involving tax-exempt status

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