AUGUSTA, Maine — A former Winslow High School wrestling booster and China field hockey coach accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from school sports organizations in Winslow and China pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of felony theft during a hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Wendi Willette, 42, pleaded guilty to Class B theft in connection with the theft of more than $8,000 from the Winslow High School wrestling booster club and to Class C theft for having taken at least $300 in funds from the China girls field hockey team, which she coached, Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said late Tuesday afternoon.
Also Tuesday, Willette pleaded guilty to nine counts of welfare fraud brought forward by the Maine attorney general’s office, Maloney said. That aspect of Tuesday’s proceedings was handled by Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell, Maloney said.
“To the state of Maine for the attorney general’s case, the amount owed is over $60,000,” for home heating fuel assistance, food stamps, MaineCare coverage and other benefits that Willette received under false pretenses, Maloney said.
Under a proposed “global” agreement that addresses all of the charges against Willette, she would be sentenced to four years in prison with all but 12 to 18 months suspended, followed by three years of supervised release, Maloney said.
“She’s already paid $5,000 to the booster club, which we’ll be able to give to them as soon as we get the check from Kennebec County,” Maloney said. “She owes an additional $3,425 to the booster club and then she owes $300 to the China girls field hockey team.”
Willette remains free on bail until her sentencing, Maloney said.
Maloney said that the sentencing was scheduled for June 22 because Willette expects to receive a settlement stemming from an unrelated civil case on June 7 that could cover most, if not all, of the restitution she is required to pay.
Maloney said that if the court learns that Willette will not receive the settlement, her sentencing date will be moved up.
Willette, who served as treasurer of Winslow High’s booster club until July 2013, reportedly pilfered the money between September 2010 and July 2013.
Willette’s criminal history includes a pair of convictions for negotiating a worthless instrument in 2003 and 2004. Both of those crimes were misdemeanors.