Former Wahama choir teacher accepts plea

By Beth Sergent

January 9, 2014

MASON —A case which has been long talked about in the Bend Area is coming to a resolution in the new year.

A former Wahama High School choir teacher accused of using choir booster funds for personal use has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors.

Crystal M. Hendricks, 45, appeared in Mason County Circuit Court on Thursday before Judge David W. Nibert where she pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. In terms of this offense, the West Virginia Code allows for a sentence of confinement in jail for no more than one year for each count or fined not more than $2,500 or both. She is slated to reappear in circuit court for sentencing at 10:45 a.m., Feb. 14.

Hendrick’s plea agreement states at sentencing, the state will recommend imposition of sentence suspended and Hendricks placed on probation. The plea agreement also states Hendricks agrees to make restitution of $362.85.

Hendricks waived her right to prosecution by indictment and as such a two-count information, as opposed to indictment, was filed against her yesterday, Jan. 9. Each count contained in the information alleges in 2008 and in 2011, Hendricks committed the misdemeanor offense of obtaining money under false pretenses by obtaining money with intent to defraud the Wahama High School Choir Boosters of less than $1,000.

The original, criminal complaint filed in Mason County Magistrate Court at the time of her arrest in 2012, alleges Hendricks used the boosters’ account at Farmers Bank for her personal use on at least 14 occasions totaling $2,862.85, which included a $29 overdraft fee. The complaint also said information collected from the Mason County Board of Education was used in the investigation conducted by the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

Hendricks was originally charged with one felony count of fraudulent schemes and released on a $20,000 surety bond.

Hendricks is no longer an employee with Wahama High School or Mason County Schools.

At Thursday’s hearing, Hendricks was represented by Attorney Bradley Layne with the state represented by Prosecuting Attorney Craig Tatterson.