Former Warrick County school employee accused of embezzling $142 - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Former Castle High School employee accused of embezzling $142K

Former Castle High School employee accused of embezzling $142K

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Indiana's Attorney General has taken legal action against a former employee of Castle High School. She is accused of misappropriating nearly $142,000 in school funds.

Warrick County Circuit Court, Zoeller's office have obtained a temporary restraining order freezing the financial assets of 55-year-old Rebecca McKee of Newburgh while a full audit is being conducted by the State Board of Accounts.

Until her retirement in August 2012, McKee was an extracurricular account treasurer at Castle High School. She handled deposits and bookkeeping of various funds within the school.

A preliminary audit by the State Board of Accounts accuses McKee of misappropriating $141,869.25 between November 2008 and September 2012.

"My office has taken legal action against many public officials accused of embezzlement but such a violation of public trust is especially disappointing when committed by a school employee, since the defendant's actions set a bad example for students. We will do our utmost to claw back the public funds and restore public trust," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

According to the State Board of Accounts preliminary audit, McKee allegedly engaged in three types of misappropriation of school funds for personal use:

  • Failure to deposit into the school's account a total $82,394.03 in cash collections she received.
  • Claiming 24 unauthorized reimbursements totaling $14,550.22 for which the supporting documentation was absent, altered or didn't match the amount.
  • Writing checks for cash out of school funds or failing to deposit certain funds totaling $44,925.

The preliminary audit identified a total $141,869.25 that had been misappropriated.

The State Board of Accounts incurred another $52,543.08 in auditing costs that it asks McKee to repay, so the State seeks a grand total of $194,412.33. 

The school had $15,000 surety bond coverage on McKee each year, but any amount not covered by bonds would be the defendant's personal responsibility.

In the motions filed on Thursday, the Attorney General's Office asked the Warrick County Circuit Court to freeze McKee's assets, including a house in Newburgh, a Honda Accord and any bank accounts or retirement accounts.

The AG's Office asked the court to order that McKee's assets not be transferred, concealed or distributed, so that funds would be available to reimburse the Warrick County School Corporation later if the court were to enter a judgment.

Garnishment of any contributions to or benefits from retirement accounts also is sought.

A hearing on the State's motion for a prejudgment attachment and garnishment is set for May 24 at 1:00 P.M..

The Attorney General's Office could file a complaint to recover public funds at a later date to seek civil collection of the final amount from McKee in order to reimburse the school treasury.

The Attorney General's jurisdiction is civil only, to collect misappropriated public funds that have been misappropriated.

Criminal charges, if any, would be the jurisdiction of the county prosecutor and police. 

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