TODAY   |  November 16, 2013

Conn. embezzlement scandal could shut down schools

A small town in Connecticut may be forced to shut down its schools by the end of the year after its finance director allegedly embezzled more than two million dollars from the town coffers. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> a small town of connecticut is on the verge of bankruptcy and the kids who live there who may pay the ultimate price. kristen dahlgren hat latest for us.

>> reporter: the town is recovering from the alleged embezzlement by the finance director to the tune of $2 million. now schools could be shut down by the end of the year because the town might not be able to pay the people who run them. w winstead, connecticut. they say they are living a nightmare after henry sintrello was accused of embezzliing almost $2 million to help his life with a mistress in florida.

>> i cannot understand how somebody could do that to children.

>> reporter: res dates say the twisted tale has left the town teetering on bankruptcy and their schools in danger of closing within weeks if something isn't done.

>> i can't conceive of that happening but if we don't have money to pay staff, how do we operate a school? we can't ask employees to come to work for nothing.

>> on friday, he pleaded not guilty to first-degree larceny. his attorney had no comment but prosecutors said these are serious charges.

>> however, you know, very important case, we are giving it a good deal of attention.

>> reporter: an afterward obtained by nbc news reveals allegations of a secret life . a mistress supposedly in florida saying he made that money on google stock and selling land with disney. now the 59-year-old is being hold on a hundred thousand dollars bond and facing five counts of larceny and today residents are talking about borrowing the $2 million to fund their schools.

>> something has to be done. do we like it? no p. but we have put ourselves in this position and where we have to go.

>> reporter: for the town's children there is only one discern -- what is next for them?

>> i would say you better hurry the heck up, you know? because i don't want to go to different school.

>> reporter: as they wait to see if their schools can be saved. polls in the town close at 8:00 tonight. the superintendent tells me they hope to get enough votes to get the loan and keep the school opened but the loan has to be paid back some way but either way , the people in the town are are a enough spot.

>> the little boy , hurry your act up and get your act together.