READSBORO -- The principal of the Readsboro Elementary School is facing embezzlement and fraud charges after State Police say an investigation showed he misappropriated more than $4,000 in grant funding and took $200 in children's lunch money.

Michael W. Heller, 40, of Fairfax, is cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court on Jan. 27 to face charges, according to Vermont State Trooper Lauren Ronan. On Dec. 19, the school's superintendent contacted State Police saying the Readsboro Board of School Directors suspected Heller of embezzlement after seeing the results of a financial audit. A police investigation revealed that Heller had applied for and obtained grants to be used for school-related items, however he diverted more than $4,000 from those grants toward personal expenses such as hotel stays, meals, and other items.

Heller is also accused of creating false records to cover his alleged activities. Police also learned from Heller's secretary that $200 in children's lunch money had been reported missing over a period of time. Ronan said Heller was responsible for this.

According to Ronan, Heller turned himself in to police custody on Monday. He has been the principal at Readsboro Elementary School for the past two years.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @Kwhitcombjr.


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