Stacie Bement, 45, of Wakeman, pleaded guilty today in Huron County Common Pleas Court to two counts grand theft and five counts of forgery — all felony charges.
In exchange for the pleas and her promise to repay the stolen money, prosecutors agreed to drop an addition count of grand theft and seven other counts of forgery. She had been indicted on all 15 charges in May.
A Nov. 15 sentencing date has been.
An investigation by the Norwalk Police Department found that Bement stole the money from two trusts that the children's father created for them before his death in 2007.
Investigators determined she accessed the trusts by forging the signature of her husband, Jerry, who was the trust custodian. She transferred the life insurance money to her personal bank account on multiple occasions between 2008 and 2012 and spent the money on a car, mortgage and living expenses until it was all gone.
In total, she stole about $100,000 in principal from the trusts, plus several thousand dollars in interest.
A longtime special education teacher at Edison High School at the time of her arrest in May, Stacie Bement also created fictitious financial statements that made it appear as if the funds were still in the bank.
The money had been left for Magnus and Javyn Mortensen by their father, Mike Mortensen, who died from brain cancer. Mike Mortensen was a childhood friend of Jerry Bement.
The theft was discovered last year when Magnus turned 18 and discovered that the bank account earmarked for his college education had been wiped clean.
"Our number one goal in this case is to get the full inheritance back for these kids, because this defendant took every last penny that their father left them," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "A condition in this plea agreement is that the defendant must repay the entire amount she owes prior to her sentencing date."
Each child stands to receive more than $50,000 in restitution.
The case is being prosecuted by attorneys with DeWine's Special Prosecutions Section.