Former Benton Harbor school superintendent charged with embezzlement

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The former superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools has been charged with Embezzlement and Obtaining Money by False Pretenses for allegedly taking cash payouts for vacation days over what was allowed by his contract.

The Berrien County Prosecutor made the announcement of charges Thursday against Dr. Leonard Seawood. The charges come from activities between June 2012 and April 2015.

According to prosecutor Michael Sepic, Seawood’s contract permitted a cash payout for a maximum of five unused vacation days per year and Seawood received 25 vacation days a year.  According to Sepic, Seawood allegedly was paid for 45 extra days in 2012, 16 extra days in 2013, nine extra days in 2014 and five extra days in 2015.  The total amount paid out in extra payments was about $45,000.

Seawood was suspended by the Board of Education in Benton Harbor on April 30, 2015 and the board requested an investigation into Seawood the following day. Michigan State Police also began an investigation.  Seawood resigned on October 13, 2015.

Bond for Seawood was set Thursday at $10,000. He was freed after posting 10% of the bond.

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