Bulldog Band embezzler gets 15 years - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bulldog Band embezzler gets 15 years

James Ouzts is sentenced to 15 years in prison after stealing nearly $50,000 from Band Booster Club James Ouzts is sentenced to 15 years in prison after stealing nearly $50,000 from Band Booster Club
Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Sabrina Everett Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Sabrina Everett
Thomasville High School Band Director Joe Regina Thomasville High School Band Director Joe Regina
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A man who stole tens of thousands of dollars from an area high school band is headed to prison.  Thomasville High School Band students are trying to move on after the sentencing of the former Band Booster's treasurer.

Last fall, the Thomasville High School Band was selected to perform in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.  A trip for which they raised close to $50,000. 

Band members were devastated when they found out former Band Booster's treasurer James Ouzts stole that money.

Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Sabrina Everett said, “They were quite naturally upset initially and thought they would miss that opportunity.”

But with an outpouring of help and donations from the community, the band raised enough money to make the trip to Washington D.C.

Thomasville High School Band Director Joe Regina said, “It's hard to earn all that money.  It doesn't just come easily.  We were very fortunate because the people of Thomasville, when they heard of our story, decided to be very generous with us.  And some of the bigger corporations and foundations helped us along.  And we really were able to bounce back.”

Resilient.  That's how the band director and superintendent described the students.  

A quality they need when someone they trusted has now been sentenced to 15 years and 200 hours of community service.

Everett said, “When we have those events, which are beyond our control, we deal with them, we move on.  We try to stay focused on what's important.  And what's most important is doing what's in the best interest of our students.”

And now that it's over, the band hopes to move on. Regina said, “Now that the trial is over and everything, let's just get on with it.  Do our thing, which is making music and having fun.”

Ouzts will serve two years in prison, the remainder on probation. 

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