sfstate.jpgA former San Francisco State University student who ran the school’s cheerleading squad is facing criminal charges for allegedly embezzling nearly $20,000 from the team.

Ashlee Haley, 23, was arrested last Thursday and has since pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court to 12 felony counts of grand theft, 16 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, and one felony count of embezzlement, according to the district attorney’s office.

Haley, of Oakland, had been elected the coach of the Gators Cheerleading Club by the other cheerleaders and served as its treasurer.

Prosecutors said she took money from members to pay for cheerleading camp, uniforms and other expenses, but then allegedly used the cash for personal items such as food, entertainment, airline tickets, clothing and rent.

The spending included a trip to Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

District Attorney Kamala Harris called Haley’s alleged behavior
“appalling” and “despicable” in a prepared statement.

“These victims are struggling to balance the pressures of academic and extracurricular demands with the burden of paying for a higher education,” Harris said.

Public defender’s office spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said Haley’s attorney was just beginning to review evidence in the case.

“She has no prior criminal record, and we’re hoping to get it straightened out,” Barak Aparton said.

Haley was a student and not a paid employee of the university, and she has since left the school without graduating, according to San Francisco State University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.

She is out of custody and scheduled to return to court Sept. 30 for a preliminary hearing, according to the district attorney’s office.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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