CLEARFIELD – A Brockway woman who was charged with stealing funds from student groups at Penn State DuBois was sentenced Tuesday.
Barbara A. Holt, 66, a former employee of the University, was charged in October with felony theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property as well as two counts each of misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property after an investigation into missing money from various student fundraisers.
Holt pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of theft by unlawful taking.
Prior to her sentencing, Rebecca Pennington, the director of student affairs at the University, addressed the court explaining that Holt had managed all the club funds for 15 years.
She referred to the crime as “an act of betrayal.”
She said as she reviewed all the forms, she realized how Holt was manipulating the system and became angry. “I never saw it. I never even thought to look for it.”
Pennington stated she was also sad as Holt “reached a point that this was an answer for her.”
She went on to say the loss of these funds caused additional paperwork for the University to pay the funds back to the clubs, and an audit of the system to ensure “no one could ever do this again.”
The students were affected and are unsure of whether or not they can trust again, she said. “It’s hard when you consider yourself a family and something like this happens.”
Pennington quoted a few of the students including the THON chair who said Holt had stolen “from kids with cancer.”
When President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman asked Holt if she wanted to say anything, she said no.
He then sentenced her to four years probation and fined her $2,000 and stated “if she showed remorse, her sentence would be different.”
Holt’s plea agreement was for a period of probation if she paid the restitution of more than $5,700 in full, which she did.
In addition, she is prohibited from working with the administration of any funds for a non-profit or charitable group.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, it appeared that Holt started appropriating money to different groups, as she was trying to “cover her tracks.” She was stealing cash from one fundraiser and using funds from future fundraisers to re-pay the stolen cash amounts.
The pattern was discovered after the various student groups began reporting the shortages in their accounts.