A teacher from Georgia pled guilty on Monday to multiple wire fraud charges after stealing more than $240,000 from various small businesses and non-profit organizations to fund her gambling addiction.
According to a Columbus ABC affiliate, Trenna Denise Trice entered her plea in federal court. She fraudulently deposited 109 checks and 265 credit card transactions from those organizations and into her personal account. She cited her gambling addiction as her reason why.
Trice faces up to 20 years behind bars and three years of supervised release, along with a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced on March 29, 2022.
The Inspector General of the FDIC began an investigation into Trice in May 2019 after what was reported as “hefty casino losses funded by an unknown income source.” Trice’s only income source was her modest pay as a teacher in the Muscogee County School District but had previously worked at a dental office and as a campaign coordinator for the United Negro College Fund.
The majority of Trice’s theft comes from those two jobs. She swiped $70,231 from the dental office and $162,044 from the UNCF. She was let go from both of those employment opportunities due to “financial irregularities.”
Her role with the UNCF allowed her to collect cash, check and credit card contributions to the fund. She also handled money at the dental office. In their investigation, federal agents found that the larger donations went to the organizations as planned and she kept the smaller amounts to herself.
She also took money from the SAMARC, a non-profit that runs basketball camps, and the Georgia Dental Society.
“Trenna Trice abused the trust of two non-profits, a small business, and many individual citizens when she chose to steal money intended for others to fund her gambling addiction,” said U.S. Attorney Peter Leary.