Missing camp trip cash tipped off school in teacher charged with embezzling

- A cloud of betrayal hangs over Macomb Dakota High School Thursday as 29-year-old Lydia Johnson was charged for embezzling thousands of dollars.

A spokesperson with Chippewa Valley schools says back in May, the Spanish teacher, who also served as the school's student activity coordinator, was put on administrative leave.

This came after officials noticed some money missing from the fund following a school trip to Camp Tamarack.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Office says Johnson should've deposited $13,000 in fees but only deposited $500.

"Camp Tamarack should have been paid with the amount of funds, which they weren't," said Sgt. Renee Yax, Macomb County Sheriff's Office. "Camp Tamarack contacted the school, which did some digging."

The sheriff's office says the school discovered a major discrepancy in ticket sales for the school's 2016 homecoming dance; Johnson had been overseeing the sales.

"The school should've taken in $30,000 and looking into their funds, it looked like only $11,000 was deposited," Yax said.

Police say it didn't stop there, searching Johnson's bank account records and discovering unexplainable amounts of cash deposited.

"We also found that she had spent some funds at the casino," Yax said.

Police say MGM casino records show Johnson spent more than $90,000 last year in penny slots.

"I paid for the football games, for the homecoming tickets, I don't know if any of my money was used at the casino or not - that's abysmal," said Peter Dedha, former student.

The sheriff's office says not only did a search of Johnson's classroom reveal several casino receipts -- but also, opened and empty homecoming envelopes.

Johnson was arraigned on one count of embezzlement from a non-profit has been granted a $10,000 personal bond. FOX 2 was unable to reach her for comment Thursday.

"For a teacher like this that I've heard so many good things about, it's just shocking," said Dedha.

Many students and parents are hoping Johnson gets some help.

"She's going to have to face justice," said parent Stephanie Bialas. "For the parents out there, we fight to work to get our kids the best education and the best additional things to do. It's not right."

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