}

Monday, February 24, 2014

"BELLES WITH BALLS": How A Convicted Embezzler Bounced From Her Michigan Jail Cell Right Into A Case Manager Slot At Per Wickstrom's 'A Forever Recovery'


Call them cojones, huevos or balls, my first “Belle With Balls” clearly demonstrates the audacious chutzpah required to inaugurate Miss Fortune’s new series.

 In late 2012, this Belle plead guilty and went to jail in Jackson County, Michigan, for embezzling nearly $15,000 from a parent group supporting sport programs and athletes at a area school. Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson sentenced this Belle With Balls to 300 days in jail and five years probation, although she served less than eight months and was released on August 8, 2013.

And on August 26, 2013, with no experience in substance abuse treatment and hardly enough time to wash the stink of jailhouse bologna from her hair, our Belle started working at Per Wickstrom's A Forever Recovery.

WHAT'S A FEW THOUSAND MISSING DOLLARS AMONG FRIENDS?

Actual mugshot (altered)
Miss Fortune is not using her real name and has altered her mugshot (can you believe she was smiling!), but believe you me this Belle is as real as an elusive package of Cookie Dough Oreos!

Our Belle was a keen multi-tasker, serving both as treasurer and president of the booster club board.  In fact, she loved her time at the trough so much she even altered the booster club’s constitution so she could not be voted from either position!

After assuming her dual duties at the booster club, our Belle quickly realized there were no checks and balances, and began writing checks that left virtually no bank balances. 

In fact, Assistant Jackson County Prosecutor Nick Mehalco Jr. described her scheme as a “long, systematic pilfering of monies.” The judge who sentenced our Belle called her offense “appalling.”
   
Our Belle’s name went on the club bank accounts in April 2011 and by June 2011 she began writing checks to herself—using the organization’s money to cruise and shop at various mall stores, stoke herself with sacks full of fine cuisine from local Taco Bell and Wendy’s fast food restaurants, and fuel her car at local gas stations.

Entrusted with the students’ best interests, our Belle instead considered her own best interests.

Drop the chalupa, sister, you’re busted!


AFTER A FINANCIAL FUMBLE, A FOREVER RECOVERY?

Yes, the woman who told Judge Wilson during her sentencing hearing that she was “truly sorry” for what she did and “never meant to hurt anyone, especially any children,” is now working as a Case Manager at Per Wickstrom’s A Forever Recovery.

So is she typical of what A Forever Recovery describes on its website as "the best staff in the county"? On its website, A Forever Recovery describes itself as a treatment facility that "provides a completely unique recovery environment. The Center brings together many different types of counselors and other licensed professionals, and focuses on guiding clients into finding the recovery base that is best for them.”

Let's see how this "bestie" describes herself in a link that was updated on February 7:

I am a Belle With Balls (not her real name!), and a Case Manager at A Forever Recovery.  I am married to the love of my life and we have four children, ages 16, 14, 12, and 3. I have done a lot of volunteering throughout our older children’s education. In doing this I found my passion in helping others achieve their goals. Here at A Forever Recovery I facilitate groups at our withdrawal center. I enjoy being one of the first people that our clients meet as they begin their stay with us. In doing this I have a unique opportunity to see each and every one of our client’s grow and change throughout their stay. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. I am beginning to work on my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Though I have never struggled with addiction myself, I have been the support system for some of my loved ones through their addiction.  This role and my own life experiences have given me an insight into the addiction process.  With this knowledge I discovered the desire to help others find the path to sobriety.

Funny, I didn't see any reference to her "superior financial management skills" or "ability to look superfine in an orange jumpsuit".

A previous description had our Belle as a "Group Therapy Facilitator" (that must have been one helluva group!), and if you read closely you'll notice that only the title is different:

I am a Belle With Balls, and a Group Therapy Facilitator at A Forever Recovery.  I am married to the love of my life and we have four children, ages 16, 14, 12, and 3. I have done a lot of volunteering throughout our older children’s education. In doing this I found my passion in helping others achieve their goals. Here at A Forever Recovery I facilitate groups at our withdrawal center. I enjoy being one of the first people that our clients meet as they begin their stay with us. In doing this I have a unique opportunity to see each and every one of our client’s grow and change throughout their stay. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. I am beginning to work on my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Though I have never struggled with addiction myself, I have been the support system for some of my loved ones through their addiction.  This role and my own life experiences have given me an insight into the addiction process.  With this knowledge I discovered the desire to help others find the path to sobriety.

So is she one of Per Wickstrom's sister Pamela Anderson (not the hot one) calls "caring, qualified and certified experts who can help them make it through a very difficult time" or is she just another Belle With Balls?

Miss Fortune would vote for "balls", but I don't want to give them a bad name. 

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