Former Hardeman Co. teacher pleads guilty in theft of Beta Club money

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — A former fifth grade teacher at Toone Elementary School has pleaded guilty to theft.

Erin Piefer pleaded guilty Feb. 16 to theft over $1,000 after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, according to a news release.

Piefer served as the sponsor of Toone’s Junior Beta Club. The Comptroller’s Office began its investigation after school officials reported possible missing funds related to the club, according to the release.

During the period of August 2016 through April 2017, Piefer stole at least $2,125 from the club, failing to deposit money that was collected by students during a candy fundraiser, according to the release.

The release says Piefer also kept money she collected from students and parents intended to offset the cost of attending the National Beta Club convention in Nashville.

In April 2017, school officials confronted Piefer about the shortage and she returned $840 to the school. Piefer later admitted to Comptroller investigators that she kept and used Junior Beta Club money to pay for personal expenses, including past-due house payments, according to the release.

Piefer submitted her resignation on Aug. 25.

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