LEAD, SD -- A former bookkeeper at the Northern Hills Family YMCA in Lead, SD, was sentenced to seven years in a state penitentiary for grand theft and forgery. The bookkeeper, Shelley Stevenson of Rapid City, SD, allegedly issued paychecks to herself, her daughters and her husband and increased her wages by $3.80 an hour without approval of the Y board.

Stevenson was caught after the Y, which was going through financial difficulties, took a closer look at its books, says Tom Hagen, a member on the Y’s board of directors. The Y almost closed last summer, and Hagen was appointed to a committee to look into ways to save the facility, which offers a weight-lifting room, cardio area and swimming facilities.

“If we were going to ask the city for money and fundraise to save the Y, I felt like we needed to know exactly where money was spent,” Hagen says. “In January, we had the finance committee scrutinizing every nickel and dime, and they came across some improprieties.”

The committee then looked into the discrepancies more closely over the course of six weeks, contacted an attorney and went to the Lead, SD, sheriff.

Hagen says the Y is in better financial shape. Memberships are up, and the Y will receive $46,000 in restitution.