OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say a former assistant superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools who was accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from the school district died at the Ottawa County Jail Thursday night.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said around 8 p.m. deputies responded after the 56-year-old inmate was found unresponsive. Corrections deputies and jail medical staff tried to resuscitate the inmate, but he was pronounced dead, according to OCSO.
The sheriff’s office later identified the inmate as Brian Keith Wheeler, 56, of Muskegon.
On Monday, Wheeler pleaded no contest to embezzling $100,000 or more and using a computer to commit a crime. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such in the court system.
According to court documents, authorities believe Wheeler stole more than $900,000 since 2014 by faking bills of about $7,000 each from a non-existent company. 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 had worked for the Grand Haven Area Public Schools for more than 20 years. He was fired on 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.
As is standard protocol, Michigan State Police is investigating the events surrounding the inmate’s death.