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West Rowan Middle School Band Boosters continue fundraising efforts

SALISBURY — West Rowan Middle School’s Band Boosters club is continuing its fundraising, a few days after its former treasurer was charged with stealing $14,000 from the group.

Chantel Reliford is charged with embezzling money from the group’s fundraising account.

Reliford, 32, of Salisbury, was charged with six felony counts of embezzlement of funds by a public trustee. Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Reliford, who had access to the club’s bank account, took cash, withdrew money from the bank account, and used a club debit card to make retail and restaurant purchases over a six-month period.

Members of the Boosters Club noticed discrepancies last year, but they said Reliford told them her wallet was missing. When they checked the account last week, they discovered there was only $1,000 in an account that should have had well more than $6,000.

Band director Nathan Bowman, who also had access to the account, gave Reliford checks and cash to deposit throughout the school year. Authorities said Reliford deposited the checks Bowman gave her and kept the cash.

Parents were told about the situation last week and immediately began coming up with new fundraisers to get the money needed for an upcoming band trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.

The club received an extension to pay for the trip but needs to come up with $9,000 by Feb. 11. Boosters are looking for ways to raise the money.

Club President Anissa Winn and Vice President Amy Mitchell have talked with local business owners and corporations in hopes of obtaining sponsorships and have created a GoFundMe page to generate contributions online as well.

A movie/dance night is planned Feb. 9 at West Rowan Middle School and will be open to all third- through fifth-graders. It will be an opportunity to raise more money before the deadline, Mitchell said.

She said now is the time that “we all can rise above this.”

Donations can be made at the club’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/west-rowan-middle-school-bands or a check can be made out to WRMS Bands and mailed to 5925 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury, NC 28147.

Email Mitchell at wrmsbands.vp@gmail.com to learn about upcoming fundraisers.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.



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