GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A former assistant superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools who is accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from the school district has pleaded no contest to the charges.
Brian Wheeler, 56, entered his plea Monday morning. He was charged in November with embezzling $100,000 or more and using a computer to commit a crime.
According to court documents, authorities believe Brian Wheeler stole more than $900,000 since 2014 by faking bills of about $7,000 each from a non-existent company. Wheeler would pick up the checks from the district and deposit the money into his own accounts, investigators testified. He would then move it around using a money transfer app, they said. A Grand Haven police detective testified to a judge that Wheeler’s wife admitted to her what he was doing.
Police started looking into the district’s finances in November when school staff realized bond money set aside for the technology department was missing.
Wheeler, 56, had worked for the district for more than 20 years. He was fired Nov. 22 after he failed to show up to investigative interviews. The next day, police put out the word that they were looking for him and he was spotted and arrested in Muskegon within hours.
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such in the court system. In return for Wheeler’s plea, the prosecutor agreed to not ask for a consecutive sentence or file additional charges in this case.
The judge on Monday revoked Wheeler’s bond while he awaits sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 21.