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Posted: September 23, 2017

Teacher accused of gambling away $90,000; thousands stolen from homecoming fund

A general view of the MGM Grand casino in Detroit, Michigan. 
Paul Marotta/Getty Images
A general view of the MGM Grand casino in Detroit, Michigan. 

By Alex Thomas, Rare.us

MACOMB, Mich. —

A Michigan high school teacher is accused of gambling away thousands of dollars from a school fund used for activities like the annual homecoming dance.

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Dakota High School teacher Lydia Johnson, 29, the school’s student activities coordinator, was entrusted with the funds collected from school events, which was supposed to be used for class activities, like dances and class trips.

Authorities said Johnson’s gambling addiction prevented her from effectively financing her pupils’ endeavors. Instead of buying materials for homecoming floats, for example, the educator was pumping money into the slot machines at the MGM Grand in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reported

In a press release, Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith said investigators found receipts from the casino next to empty envelopes that should have contained thousands of dollars from homecoming ticket sales.

Smith noted that ticket sales for the homecoming dance totaled nearly $30,000, but said Johnson only deposited $11,000 into the school’s account.

The teacher finally came under scrutiny when she reportedly paid a camp only $500 for a school trip that cost thousands. When camp staff called the district about the discrepancy, officials began an internal investigation.

Johnson was placed on administrative leave in May when officials first opened the investigation.

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Investigators also said that records from the MGM Grand show the teacher spent over $90,000 on penny slots in 2016.

Her gambling addiction also took a toll on her personal life - Johnson reportedly emptied her bank account to feed her habit.


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