29-year-old Lydia Johnson, a teacher from Michigan, has arrested on charges of stealing thousands from her school’s fund that was meant to be used for various school activities, including homecoming.
Johnson spent a chunk of the $90,000 on various slot games at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit.
After authorities searched her classroom, they discovered multiple receipts from the casino and several empty envelopes that should have contained homecoming money. The prosecuting attorney, Eric Smith, said that she occupied a title at the school that came with trust. Instead, she took that trust and completely ruined it by wasting the school’s money by gambling.
Lydia Johnson had been the school’s student activity coordinator for over a year and a half before her arrest. The position allowed her to be in charge of the money coming in and going out for all of the student-related events. In May of this year, the school decided to put Johnson on leave after uncovering several discrepancies in her accounting documents. After the school’s homecoming event, officials allege she only added $11,000 back into the fund, when she should have deposited almost $30,000 from ticket sales.
Johnson also was in charge of sales and receipts for a student and parent school trip. She should have gathered and added almost $13,000 in payments, but instead only $500 was given back to the school.
The camp that the school was taking the trip to repeatedly tried to retrieve their money, but was unsuccessful and ultimately contacted officials at the school. An internal inquiry by officials produced more questions than could be answered and it was determined that the authorities should be contacted.
Sherriff Anthony Wickersham shared his frustrations with the situation by highlighting that a lot of the school’s pupils will remember their senior homecoming as a negative experience, not a positive one.
If convicted, Lydia Johnson could face up to 10 years in prison.