Hilbun pleads not guilty in parent group theft case


Staff report

WARREN

Stephanie Hilbun, who is accused of stealing $8,300 from the McDonald Parent Educator Group, was arraigned Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Hilbun, 41, of Nebraska Avenue, pleaded not guilty, and Judge W. Wyatt McKay set bond at $10,000, which she later posted, allowing her to leave the Trumbull County jail.

Hilbun was arrested Tuesday after being indicted on theft in office, grand theft and four counts of forgery. If convicted, she could get prison time.

The forgery counts accuse Hilbun, who was the group’s treasurer, of writing checks on the parent-educator group’s bank account for personal items – $340 to an individual; $658 to Fun n Stuff, an indoor/outdoor amusement park; $176 to “Card Services;” and $450 to herself.

The checks were all written in 2017 and 2018, but some of the alleged theft took place as far back as January 2016, her indictment says.

Hilbun started working in the McDonald school district in April 2016 as a substitute secretary and continued in that role through August 2016, according to records in her personnel file.

She worked throughout the past two school years as a teacher’s aide in the district’s Roosevelt Elementary, ending in June 2018. She has not worked for the school district in the current school year, said Kevin O’Connell, McDonald schools superintendent.

The reason for the theft in office charge is that she is a state employee by virtue of her jobs at the schools and allegations that she “used her [job with the schools] in aid of committing the offense or permitted or assented to its use in aid of committing the offense.”

O’Connell said the parent-educator group is essentially a PTO-type of organization. He said he doesn’t know how long Hilbun was involved in the group but believes it was “several years.”

O’Connell said the police and prosecutors are handling the case against Hilbun, and he has no comment on the charges.

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