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Band booster case headed to grand jury

SOUTH POINT — The case against the former treasurer of a local band booster organization will go to the Lawrence County Grand Jury.

Sheila Pennisten, 41, of 106 Seventh St., South Point, is facing a theft charge stemming from more than $3,472 in missing funds from the South Point Band Boosters’ bank account.

Pennisten was to have appeared Friday morning for a preliminary hearing in Lawrence County Municipal Court before Judge Donald R. Capper.

However, she waived that and the case moves onto to the higher court. Pennisten did not appear before Capper, instead her attorney, D.L. McWhorter, represented her.

According to a Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office report, Pennisten allegedly obtained the money by cashing band booster checks several times between August and December 2008. The checks were cashed for amounts between $200 and $500. In addition to the $3,400, Pennisten allegedly also wrote checks for a total of $2,000, but paid that money back, according to the sheriff’s office report.

When the band booster account started gathering overdrafts, the school was notified and the board of education began an investigation.

Allegedly Pennisten wrote checks to herself as reimbursement for various expenses, but it was later determined those expenses had already been paid.

“It was also discovered Pennisten on at least three occasions cashed $500 checks supposedly for drawer money at the concession stands. However, the money did not reach the concession stand and additional money was withdrawn to provide drawer money,” Detective Aaron Bollinger said in his report.

Band Booster president Jeff Green said the organization’s main hope is have restitution.

“That is the most important thing for us is to get the money back for the kids,” he said. “The kids worked hard, doing car washes and selling various things at fund-raisers. I would like to thank the community for supporting these kids after all this.”