This is unbelievable but true. A convicted felon who had served four years in prison for grand theft and arson was chosen as president of the board of a small Florida charter school, where she was convicted of stealing from the school. She is heading back to prison.

You can’t make this stuff up.

“Despite spending four years in prison for arson and grand theft, and having multiple arrests for writing bad checks, Lori Bergeron became president of the board at the Manatee School of Arts and Sciences, a small charter school in Bradenton.

“On Friday, she was sentenced to eight months in jail for stealing more than $27,000 from the school she was overseeing.

“Bergeron pleaded no contest to charges of a scheme to defraud, and in addition to jail time, she will have to pay back the $27,591 she admitted to stealing from the school.

“School principal Richard Ramsay said before the plea hearing that he hoped Bergeron was punished to the fullest extent of the law.

“Honestly in cases like this, I would want the harshest punishment available,” said Rich Ramsay, MSAS principal. “When you’re stealing from children, it’s a betrayal.”

“Bergeron is a convicted felon with multiple arrests in her history. She spent close to four years in prison from 2003 to 2007 after pleading no contest to charges of grand theft and arson, according to the state department of corrections. She was ordered to pay $100,171 restitution in the grand theft case.

“Ramsay, who became principal at the school after Bergeron had joined the board, said the school district provided a background check on Bergeron to previous school administrators, but she was allowed to serve on the board anyway.

“A 2016 audit of the school’s practices by the accounting firm Shinn & Co. conducted after the fraud came to light confirmed Ramsay’s assertion.

“Manatee School of Arts and Sciences’ previous principal and School Board chose to allow a board member to join and become president who failed the background process through the (Manatee County) School Board,” Shinn’s report reads. “This same board member was then added as signatory on all bank accounts.”

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