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Texas woman admits to embezzling nearly $250,000 from youth hockey league, is charged with first-degree felony

Michele Bernier faces a first-degree felony charge for theft. (@FBCSO on Twitter)

Michele Bernier, former treasurer of Texas’ Interscholastic Hockey League, admitted to stealing nearly $250,000 over the past half-decade and has been arrested and charged with a first-degree felony, KHOU11 reports.

How did Bernier get caught?

League president Russell McKinnon confronted Bernier after noticing financial discrepancies when working on the league’s budget. Bernier, who had served as the league’s treasurer — a volunteer position — for five years, admitted she had been taking money due to her family’s “financial hardship” during the entirety of her tenure. She embezzled a total that came to $223,327 when she was caught, according to Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. 

“I cannot imagine why anyone would steal money being used to support a youth group,” Nehls said via the sheriff office’s Twitter. “For five years, she pocketed almost a quarter of a million dollars while the kids in the hockey league went without. Shame, shame.”

Bernier was charged with a first-degree felony…

Bernier, who has hired an attorney according to ABC 13, offered to pay back $45,000, an offer the league rejected.

She is charged with first-degree felony theft and is being held in the Fort Bend County Jail with bond set at $224,000, per the Houston Chronicle.

What is the Interscholastic Hockey League?

The Interscholastic Hockey League, founded in 1998, is a high school league based in Houston that serves much of southeast Texas. It features teams at the varsity and prep (essentially junior varsity) levels. This season, the league featured nine teams in the “Justice Varsity” league and seven teams in the “Adams Prep” league. Both leagues also have an individual skills competition.

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