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Former Nebraska Airboaters Association treasurer facing theft charges

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The former treasurer of the Nebraska Airboaters Association is facing charges after allegedly taking money from the organization.

The organization is based out of Fremont and has about 500 members throughout Nebraska and the United States at large. The nonprofit holds an airboating event annually on the Platte and Loup rivers.

According to court documents, a board member of the nonprofit had contacted the Fremont Police Department in June after an audit showed that then-Treasurer Hollie J. Hittner had “embezzled over $47,000 over the last three years.” The period of the alleged theft is from about Feb. 1, 2019, to April 29, 2021, according to court documents.

The documents indicate that Hittner had begun returning the money when she was made aware of the discovered unauthorized transactions; at that time, she had repaid almost $46,000.

An affidavit from the Fremont Police Department, filed in Dodge County Court in September, says that Hittner called the transactions “mental mistakes on her part and she does not deny that she unintentionally used money from the Airboaters Association account.”

Hittner was subsequently charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition of $5,000 or more, a Class IIA felony. She posted $7,500 bond on Sept. 29, according to court documents.

The association is asking that Hittner pay for the audit and amount needed to correct taxes from 2018 and 2019, a total of $7,898.37, according to court documents.

“Accounting for the statute of limitations for felony theft, the aggregated amount of misappropriated funds from February 2019 until May 2021 was $43,985.72,” based on the affidavit.

Nebraska Airboaters Association Board of Directors member Randy Fetrow said Hittner resigned in mid-May and letters were mailed to association members to inform them of the situation.

“Most of our members are not only shocked that someone would steal from a nonprofit, but to steal from a group of people who are as close as our organization is – like family, really – is hard to understand,” Fetrow said.

Hittner will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12 in Dodge County Court. She is being represented by Linsey M. Bryant of SidnerLaw in Fremont.

Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at hannah.schrodt@lee.net.

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