WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming woman accused of embezzling funds from a high school booster club has faced similar charges in the past.

According to court documents, $35,800 dollars were stolen from the Wyoming High School Band’s Booster Club by the organization’s president, Crystal Mulero. Mulero has been charged with one count of embezzlement for using the funds for her own personal gain.

This isn’t her first run-in with the law for charges related to embezzlement. In 2020, Mulero pleaded guilty to attempted embezzlement.

According to court documents, she was one of three employees at Five Below in Grandville that was caught filling up shopping carts with items and walking out without paying. Mulero later admitted to police she stole more than $11,000 dollars’ worth of merchandise from the store over a couple of years.

As a result, she was placed on probation from February 2021 until April 2022. Court documents show she first was given access to Wyoming band booster club funds around June 2021.

“They likely either didn’t do the background check or nobody knew about it, because I’ve got to assume if they had seen that they would not have put her in charge of a lot of incoming money,” said Jason Zirkle, training director for the association of certified fraud examiners.

Zirkle has served as a fraud analyst for eight years. He says embezzlement is common for smaller organizations and often times too much trust is at the core.

“Too many small organizations will put trust, a lot of trust in one individual, and especially if it’s a small town and … people know the individual,” Zirkle said.

To avoid embezzlement, Zirkle says separation of duties is key.

“That is one issue when you have one person that’s doing everything, then they have the most opportunity to steal the money,” Zirkle said.

He also says organizations should have checks in place to ensure money is being spent how it’s intended to.

“That’s where we tend to see fraud, is that person ends up stealing the money and because they check their own work, they tend to get away with it for a while,” Zirkle said.

Mulero’s latest embezzlement charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison or fines three times the amount that is embezzled.