Former Port Angeles Band Booster Club treasurer sentenced for embezzlement

PORT ANGELES — A former Port Angeles Band Booster Club treasurer has been sentenced to 30 days in the Clallam County jail and repayment of funds after she pleaded guilty to stealing from the club’s account to use for household expenses.

Melanie Kristine Register, 44, of Port Angeles, was sentenced Thursday after she pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree felony theft.

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson is permitting Register to serve 28 days of her sentence doing 224 hours of community service. She is required to serve two days in jail, according to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

Register also is required to repay the $13,800 she embezzled from the account, as well as a victim assessment fee of $500 and a DNA collection fee of $100.

Register had admitted making 30 unauthorized cash withdrawals from the booster club account between Jan. 18 and Sept. 21 last year after she was contacted by a Port Angeles police officer following the club’s discovery of the missing funds in October.

Most of the withdrawals had contained her driver’s license number and name, and security footage from the bank also showed her vehicle and her making withdrawals in person, the prosecuting attorney’s office said.

When she admitted to the embezzlement, she told police she had used the funds for her own household.

Register made no statement to the court but later in the hearing, when the court was determining financial obligations, she told Erickson she was eager to repay the money quickly. The judge set repayment at $100 per month but told Register she could repay it more quickly if she chose to do so.

“I just want you to know how disappointed I am that this happened,” Club President Kari Hunsaker told Register during the sentencing. “I trusted you, [and] we worked side by side at fundraisers with our kids. You stole from the senior band students.

“This was money that would have made it possible for us to award them scholarships. But now, because of your actions, our funds have basically been wiped out, and awarding scholarships is going to be quite challenging.”

A statement from Jarrett Hansen, director of bands at the high school, was read: “I am devastated as an educator that someone would think they could take a large sum of money that benefits students. The loss of these funds may very well jeopardize future opportunities for band students at Port Angeles High School.”

The booster club has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser with the goal of raising $6,000 for senior band member scholarships to replace some of the missing funds. As of this weekend, it had raised more than half of the goal. The site is at https://gofund.me/2549f5aa.

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