The woman accused of stealing about $21,000 from the Ponder Fine Arts Booster Club has been ordered to pay back $18,921 to the group during her five-year probation sentence, according to prosecutors with the Denton County District Attorney's Office.

Bronwyn Lenore Wright, 45, pleaded guilty to theft March 8 in Judge Bruce McFarling's 362nd Judicial District Court.

Wright initially was charged with theft between $20,000 and $100,000, which is a third-degree felony. She was accused of stealing funds that benefited the Ponder High School band between August 2014 and December 2015.

Denton County felony prosecutor Tony Paul, who worked on the case with fellow prosecutor Sheena Molsbee, said county probation officials looked into the evidence and could only definitely prove Wright had stolen $18,921, which lessened the severity of the charge to a state jail felony.

The district attorney's office offered Wright five years probation with 160 hours of community service in exchange for a guilty plea, along with paying back the funds.

Wright's attorney, Kevin Hinzman, did not return a call for comment.

Paul said her lack of criminal history played a role in the offer.

"When someone has no criminal history, that's usually a typical [offer] for third-degree felonies and above," Paul said. "However, with a state jail felony, probation can only be up to five years."

After her arrest on March 16, 2017, Wright spent one day in Denton County Jail before posting her $10,000 bail.

She was the club's former president and had control over the club's finances from May 2014 to December 2015, a Ponder police arrest affidavit said.

According to earlier reports, club members first learned money was missing from the club's account at Bank of the West in December 2015.

Once club officials started scrutinizing ATM withdrawals and transactions from the account - obtaining all account statements from August 2014 to December 2015 - they discovered $21,685.36 was either unaccounted for or completely missing, according to the Ponder arrest affidavit.

Ponder police said Wright made thousands of dollars in cash withdrawals and credit card transactions from the club's main account, as well as an undisclosed secondary account she opened in October 2014. Club officials also told police they were about $11,000 in debt because Wright did not pay bills when she was in charge of the money.

Wright and her husband, Brian Wright, moved from Ponder to an unincorporated area in Wise County near Rhome in the summer of 2015, Ponder police said.

Bronwyn Wright formerly worked at Marky's Dry Cleaners on West University Drive in Denton from August 2015 to September 2016, her arrest affidavit said.

The booster club since has reorganized and voted to rename the group from the Ponder Band Booster Club to the Ponder Fine Arts Booster Club, making it inclusive of the district's choir program.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @juliangillmusic.

Recommended for you