Crappell pleads no contest to theft
BERWICK, La. — Penny T. Crappell pleaded no contest Monday to theft over $1,500 for the theft of nearly $59,000 from Berwick Elementary School where she worked as a secretary.
The former Berwick councilwoman was ordered by the court to pay $77,347.54 in restitution to the school system. This includes $58,647.54 that will go directly to the school and an additional $18,700 the school system incurred in audit fees.
Additionally, the conditions of the sentence, according to the St. Mary Parish Clerk of Court’s office, include:
—Five years of supervised probation.
—Payment of a $1,000 fine plus court costs, prosecution costs of $450 and investigation costs for Louisiana State Police of $200.
—Participation in gambling addiction counseling.
—Remaining alcohol and drug free as well as staying away from all bars and casinos.
—Submission to drug screens.
The forgery was not prosecuted as a separate charge because it was committed in the process of the theft, Vincent Borne, Assistant District Attorney for the 16th Judicial District said. Had the forgery been committed as part of a separate incident, it would have warranted a separate charge, he added.
Crappell was arrested Aug. 23 by the Louisiana State Police on charges of theft and forgery. She resigned from both her town council and school system positions the day before.
Her position on the council temporarily was filled by Jacki Ackel. There will be a special election to fill her seat April 6 with a runoff, if necessary, on May 4.
As a result of the situation, the school system has committed to auditing all schools and programs using an accelerated 3-year cycle, Superintendent Donald Aguillard said previously.