FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — A local woman claims financial hardship drove her to stealing hundred of thousands of dollars from a youth hockey league, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Michele Bernier is treasure of the InterScholastic Hockey League, which is open to teens 13 to 18 years old. She has held the position for about five years.
Investigators said the league president noticed discrepancies while balancing out the organization’s budget. He confronted Bernier about the findings, and the suspect allegedly admitted to withdrawing money from the league’s bank account. In total, she reportedly embezzled $223,327.
According deputies, the suspect’s family was experiencing hard times and she started stealing from the league in 2013.
The president told detectives Bernier, who had hired an attorney, offered $45,000 in restitution, but the league rejected the offer.
“I cannot imagine why anyone would steal money being used to support a youth group,” Sheriff Troy Nehls said. “For five years, she pocketed almost a quarter of a million dollars while the kids in the hockey league went without. Shame, shame.”
According to court records, Bernier is charged with theft.