HILLMAN – A Hillman women was charged with embezzlement for allegedly stealing more than $35,000 from the Hillman Fire Board.
According to a statement from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Alpena Post, troopers were contacted in June 2022 by a member of the Hillman Fire Board to investigate an alleged embezzlement. The suspect, 38-year-old Donna Marie Szlag from Hillman, had been working for the Hillman Fire Board as an office manager.
Szlag’s duties included being an assistant to the fire chief, EMS scheduling, accounts receivable, and equipment purchases. Szlag was paid for her position by direct deposit, but sometimes would allegedly remove herself from the program, get paid by check, and then delete the record of the check from the software.
There were also payroll discrepancies in the amount she was paid. She would allegedly make purchases for department equipment using her personal credit card, and then issue herself a reimbursement check.
The treasurer stated the reimbursement amounts were inconsistent with the amount the equipment actually cost. Most of these discrepancies were discovered by the auditor in June 2022. The treasurer reported the total estimated amount embezzled was $35,700.
An audit was conducted, and the investigation revealed a total of $45,098.12 was possibly embezzled. The MSP obtained search warrants for Szlag’s bank records, cell phones, and Amazon accounts. A report was turned over to the Montmorency County Prosecutor’s Office.
An arrest warrant was authorized by the Montmorency County Prosecutor’s Office for Szlag on Nov. 16. She was arrested later that day.
Szlag was arraigned today in the 88th District Court in Montmorency County on one count Embezzlement by a Trustee or Agent Over $20,000, but Less Than $50,000. She was given a $25,000 / 10% bond.
Her next scheduled court appearance is on Dec 8, at 11 a.m.