Lydia Johnson Dakota teacher: How a Macomb County, Detroit teacher gambled $31.5K of school money she was entrusted with at a casino.
Lydia Johnson a Macomb Dakota High School teacher faces the wrath of students after it was revealed the woman stole thousands of dollars from student events where she spent it gambling at a casino.
Upon her arrest, Johnson, a 29 year old Spanish teacher at the Detroit area school was charged with one count of embezzlement from a nonprofit organization after authorities say she stole $31,500 earmarked for the school’s homecoming to play on penny slots at MGM Grand Detroit casino.
The woman’s arrest comes after the Macomb Township teacher had been entrusted to coordinate the high school’s homecoming dance as well as a camping trip reported The Detroit News.
Macomb County authorities say, based on attendance for Dakota’s 2016 homecoming dance, ticket sales should have taken in nearly $30,000. Johnson, however, deposited only $11,000 into the school’s Homecoming account.
But there’s more.
Johnson also oversaw ticket sales and receipts for a 60-person student-and-parent trip to Camp Tamarack. Only $500 was deposited with the school when the trip should have taken in $13,000. Leading to school authorities wondering where the money went.
Where the money went it seems was towards Johnson’s unbridled gambling addiction.
A search of her classroom revealed several casino receipts next to the open and empty homecoming envelopes according to Prosecutor Eric Smith.
‘This teacher held a position of trust within the high school,’ told the prosecutor in a press release. ‘She repaid that trust by feeding student funds into a slot machine.’
The prosecutor’s office alleges Johnson spent more than $90,000 at MGM Casino in 2016 playing penny slots, according to casino receipts.
A regard of Johnson’s bank records showed 2016 cash deposits ‘far in excess of her salary,’ according to the prosecutor’s office.
Lydia Johnson Dakota teacher: But how did she actually get away with it in the first place?
Notice of the discrepancies came after the school conducted what it claimed to be regular internal controls audits.
A report via freep told of Johnson being the school’s student activity coordinator from July 1, 2016 until her recent removal and was responsible for incoming and outgoing funds related to student events.
Johnson was placed on administrative leave on May 3 when district administrators discovered some accounting discrepancies in the school’s activities fund, according to a release from Chippewa Valley Schools.
Per district policy, Johnson was prohibited from being on any school premises, attending any school events and having contact with any students or staff without prior permission from the administration.
Administrators contacted the sheriff’s office, which investigated.
Told school Superintendent Ron Roberts, ‘We have committed our full support and cooperation to the Sheriff’s Department and the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office in this investigation. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that our board policies are followed and that our employees are acting in the best interest of our school community.’
“Many of these students will now remember their senior homecoming for all the wrong reasons,” Macomb Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said.
An internal audit investigation is in progress.
Come Thursday, Johnson was arraigned with bond set at $10,000. The teacher is remanded to appear back in court October 5.
If convicted of her felony, she could face up to 10 years in prison.