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Former Holland-area transit director guilty of embezzlement

By Audra Gamble/The Holland Sentinel • Oct 24, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Linda LeFebre, the former director of Macatawa Area Transit (MAX), pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $30,000 from the Holland-area bus service.

LeFebre, 53, overpaid herself for more than 750 hours of work over a four-year period. As a salaried employee of MAX, she never should have had more than 80 hours of work on any given paycheck, but she padded her hours with additional, unauthorized paid time off. She managed the payroll for herself and several employees.

Along with the estimated $32,000 in overpayment, LeFebre used a company credit card to purchase items for herself, her children and her in-laws.

“I bought items for my family,” LeFebre said in court. “Car repairs for my children’s car, Christmas gifts. I got body wash for my daughter. I bought tires for my daughter’s car, different car parts.”

Police documents from the Holland Department of Public Safety show LeFebre also used the company credit card to send her in-laws an Edible Arrangement and Apple AirPod headphones for her husband.

Rather than move forward with the scheduled Oct. 30 jury trial, LeFebre pleaded guilty to the charge of embezzlement of more than $20,000, a felony.

In court, LeFebre said she already can pay back $30,000 to MAX, but a final restitution amount is still being decided by the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office.

After two MAX executive board members filed a complaint about LeFebre to Holland police in March, she was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. She resigned in April.

Current Macatawa Area Coordinating Council transportation program manager Elisa Hoekwater was selected to replace LeFebre at the MAX board’s Oct. 8 meeting. When LeFebre resigned in April, her salary was $80,120. Hoekwater will begin the position at $87,000 and starts in early November.

LeFebre will appear again in court at the end of November to be sentenced by Ottawa County Circuit Judge Karen Miedema. She faces up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $96,000.

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