Ex-school secretary pleads innocent to theft

A woman accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from Lakeside Elementary School while employed as its secretary has pleaded not guilty to felony theft.

Sandy Hawkes, 36, resigned at the June 5 meeting of the Somers/Lakeside School Board after it came to light that thousands of dollars were missing from the Somers Classified Employee Union account, of which Hawkes was the treasurer.

Hawkes allegedly confessed to a coworker on May 25 that she had been embezzling from the account, later confessing to law enforcement that she had taken approximately $5,000.

A later audit of the account claims nearly $9,000 was embezzled from the account by means of forged and unauthorized checks.

She entered her not-guilty plea Thursday in Flathead District Court. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Her next hearing is set for Oct. 16.

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