Hollie Hittner, the former treasurer of the Nebraska Airboaters Association who faced charges after allegedly taking money from the organization, was sentenced to probation.
The organization is based in Fremont and has approximately 500 members across Nebraska, including Platte County and the United States in general. It hosts an annual hydrofoil event on the Platte and Loup rivers, bringing visitors to Columbus.
Hittner was charged earlier this year with theft by illegal taking or disposal of $ 5,000 or more, a Class IIA felony, in Dodge County. She posted a bond of $ 7,500 on September 29, according to court documents.
Court documents indicate that a member of the board of directors of the Nebraska Airboaters Association contacted the Fremont Police Department in June after an audit showed that Hittner, who was treasurer at the time, had “hijacked more of $ 47,000 over the past three years “. The alleged theft took place between approximately February 1, 2019 and April 29, 2021.
The documents indicate that Hittner had started returning the money when she was made aware of the unauthorized transactions discovered; by that time, she had repaid almost $ 46,000.
Randy Fetrow, a board member for the Nebraska Airboaters Association, told the Columbus Telegram in October that Hittner resigned in May. Letters were sent to members of the association to inform them of the situation, he added.
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Hittner was arraigned Tuesday in Dodge County Court, where she reached a plea deal. Her charge was reduced to theft by illegal taking of $ 501 to $ 1,499, a misdemeanor, and she was sentenced to 12 months probation with deferred judgment. In the case of a deferred judgment, the guilty charge is dismissed if the defendant successfully completes the probation.
Fetrow told the Telegram on Wednesday that a group of members of the association’s board attended Hittner’s hearing.
âWe’re just very disappointed with all of this,â Fetrow said. “You shouldn’t be able to steal from a nonprofit and get away with it.”
An affidavit from the Fremont Police Department indicates that Hittner called the transactions “mental errors on her part and she does not deny unwittingly using money from the Airboaters Association account.”
According to court documents at the time, the association asked Hittner to pay for the audit and the amount needed to correct the 2018 and 2019 taxes, a total of $ 7,898.37.
“Considering the statute of limitations for the criminal theft, the total amount of funds embezzled from February 2019 to May 2021 was $ 43,985.72,” the affidavit said.
Hannah Schrodt is the editor-in-chief of The Columbus Telegram. Contact her by email at [email protected]