PITTSBURGH - The former head of a western Pennsylvania charity that benefits those with Lou Gehrig's disease must repay $102,000 he stole and spend 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail.
Thirty-five-year-old Michael Bernarding was executive director of the western Pennsylvania chapter of the ALS Association when he was fired in April 2011 after the group's board discovered financial irregularities.
A district attorney's investigation revealed Bernarding gave himself more than $38,000 in unauthorized paychecks and bonuses, and used the group's credit card to buy gift cards to restaurants and coffee shops and tuition for online classes through Harvard University Extension School.
Bernarding was sentenced Tuesday by an Allegheny County judge. Defense attorney Daniel Konieczka says Bernarding wants to repay the money soon and was "dedicated and had a few missteps."