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Hillman woman arrested in connection with embezzlement case

Suspect had been working for Fire Board as an office manager, police say
Donna Marie Szlag has been charged with embezzlement.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Alpena Post was 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 Hillman Fire Board as an office manager, a news release said.

Szlag’s duties included being an assistant to the fire chief, EMS scheduling, paying bills, and making equipment purchases. Szlag was paid for her position by direct deposit, but sometimes she would remove herself from the program, get paid by check, and then delete the record of the check from the software.

There were payroll discrepancies in the amount she was paid, the release said She would also 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. A forensic 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 for Szlag on November 16, 2023. Szlag 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 per cent bond. Her next scheduled court appearance is on Dec. 8, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.