***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***
Posts about real school tragedy, crime, and/or events can be upsetting.
BLOG POST #196: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime involving an Assistant Director of Academics at a junior-senior school.
Have you ever donated money to a school fundraiser? Maybe you’ve volunteered to help raise funds for a particular school project or activity. If so, this greedy person’s dirty deed will make you angry.
Schools don’t have a lot of fluff in the budget. In this case, there was a generous budget that was partly funded through donations.
A 40-something ex-middle school principal was the new Assistant Director of Academics at a school with approximately 1,000 students in grades 7-12.
One of her assignments was to coordinate an academic trip in December of her second school year to Finland for 18 staff members. She had a budget of $150,000.
A few months before the Finland trip, the School Director asked the Assistant Director of Academics about some irregularities in the budget. She resigned after being confronted with the disparities. The Director called the local authorities and then arranged for an audit.
After an accounting audit determined she’d embezzled more than $100,000 from the school, the authorities arrested her four months after she’d submitted her resignation.
She was charged with numerous counts of dealing in stolen property, passing forged documents, credit card fraud, money laundering, and grand theft.
The Finland trip had come in under budget by $55,000. She opened several PayPal type accounts in different names to funnel money from the school to her personal banking account.
Bank records showed she’d purchased home furnishings and paid off her debt with the school’s money. She used school credit cards to buy luxury items and travel while carefully submitting false invoices from fictitious businesses to match her expenditures.
With plenty of evidence against her, she pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree grand theft, one count of money laundering, and one count of scheme to defraud.
A circuit court judge sentenced her to four years in prison and required her to pay more than $105,000 in restitution to the school. Plus she must serve three years of probation after her release.
What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.
Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.
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The Daily Ridge
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Affidavit
Florida State Attorney Press Release