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Woman pleads guilty to taking funds

Police: Hillier stole over $5K from club

August 30, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN-A woman who stole more than $5,000 from the former Johnstown Purple & Gold Club pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Wednesday.

Sharon Hillier, 55, of 19 Nicholas St., pleaded guilty in front of Judge Frederick Storteky to petit larceny, a misdemeanor, for taking money from the booster club, which helped fund the Greater Johnstown School District's sports, during her tenure as the club's treasurer, between Sept. 30, 2009, and Feb. 9, 2010.

The guilty plea came after a private discussion between Hillier's attorney, Andrew Fusco and Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira.

Sira agreed to lower the charges because of Hillier's cooperation in the investigation and the fact she had never been previously arrested.

Hillier has already paid back the $5,420 she took out of the fund as part of her plea deal, Sira said.

Sira said Hillier has expressed remorse for what she did. With Hillier's lack of a previous record, Sira said she believes the judge will give a fair sentence.

Judge Storteky announced he will set up a presentencing investigation for Hillier to try and determine a reasonable sentence for her situation.

Fusco was asked by his client to give no comment.

Hillier was arrested June 5 after an audit by school officials and police showed the money was missing.

Police said a school district audit showed money from the former Johnstown Purple & Gold Club was missing when the account was transferred to a different district athletics fund.

In June, city police Lt. David Gilbo said Hillier was the treasurer for the former Johnstown Purple & Gold Club from the 2004-05 school year to April 2010. He said investigators combed through five years of records after police were notified of missing money in 2011.

Police previously said Hillier used the money to pay bills through "a tough financial time."

Hillier was originally charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony.

Hillier will be sentenced Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m.

In June, District?Superintendent?Robert?DeLilli said the criminal activity happened when the club's funds were not in the school district's control.

He said the funds are now more controlled by the district. The club also has a new name: Johnstown Purple & Gold Sports Booster Club.



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