Former Alcoa school official accused of stealing over $400,000

Former Alcoa school official accused of stealing over $400,000 for personal use

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ALCOA (WATE) - A former Alcoa City Schools official is accused of diverting more than $400,000 from the school system and two professional organizations and spending the money on herself.

The state comptroller's office, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, started the audit after new leadership at the Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Steering Committee discovered a number of financial irregularities, allegedly caused by the former treasurer.

Auditors then discovered that the woman was also a former federal projects administrator for Alcoa City Schools and a former treasurer for the East Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Association.

Auditors then began investigating the finances for all three organizations for the six year period from 2007 to 2013. During that time, it was the woman's responsibility to help manage the Alcoa school district's spending of federal funds on various projects.

Over that period of time, investigators calculated the woman took more than $428,000 for her own use. Investigators also identified over $160,000 in questionable spending, for which adequate documentation could not be provided.

Officials say she gave the district fraudulent invoices and when she received money from the district, she diverted it into accounts set up on behalf of the TASSC and ETASA.

Once the funds were in those accounts, she allegedly took the money for herself through ATM withdrawals, checks written to cash and checks written to herself.

She also wrote checks from one account to pay for her home mortgage, food, jewelry, clothing, iTunes songs and an investment in a local gym.

The comptroller's office says she also spent money collected as participant fees and dues from members of both the steering committee and the attendance supervisors' association.

She also allegedly used the school district's credit cards for personal purchases, forging her supervisor's signature on billing statements, and received reimbursement for 70 trips she did not take.

The results of the investigation have been shared with the appropriate district attorneys and also the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee.

The audit notes the two professional organizations did not have sufficient oversight of the woman's spending.

The City of Alcoa issued a statement on Monday saying it and the Alcoa School Board have fully cooperated with the investigation and is saddened by the allegations.

"We will continue to cooperate with the prosecuting agencies and will seek restitution through the appropriate legal channels," said Alcoa Director of Schools Brian Bell in the statement.

The woman is not being identified at this time because charges have not yet been filed.


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