Bellefonte woman pleads guilty to stealing thousands from P-O wrestling booster club, avoids trial

mcarroll@centredaily.comMarch 14, 2013 

A Bellefonte woman set to stand trial Thursday on charges she stole more than $37,000 from the Philipsburg-Osceola wrestling booster club has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Teresa Horton, 48, was accused of taking money from the booster club between 2008 and 2010, while she served as treasurer.

Police said an audit done by the group revealed that the money was unaccounted for.

Horton pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and receiving stolen property. She had been scheduled for a two-day trial before Centre County President Judge Thomas Kistler.

Sentencing has been scheduled for May 14, according to court documents.

“Stealing money from a booster club meant to support kids’ activities deserves jail time and we will certainly seek it,” Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in a statement.

At Horton’s preliminary hearing in April, club President Tonya Weitoish testified that Horton had used the club’s Sam’s Club card and money to buy things for herself, such as cat litter, steaks, turkey and chicken. Weitoish said those items were not items they sold at concession stands.

Denise Dobo, a former club officer, testified that Horton didn’t make purchases she was ordered to, didn’t pay bills on time and got upset when people questioned her reports.

“Ms. Horton has accepted responsibility by pleading guilty,” her attorney, Marc Decker, said Wednesday evening.

But how much restitution Horton will have to pay remains an issue. Decker said there is some dispute about how much money has already been paid back and how much is still owed. The matter will be the focus of a hearing to be held before sentencing.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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