Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big Bay De Noc, Michigan School trying to regroup after embezzlement

January 12, 2010, Big Bay de Noc School office staff discovered unauthorized checks written to the school's Business Manager. January 14, 2010, the Business Manager was relieved of her duties.
"This betrayal by a long-time employee has stung the entire school family," says School Superintendent John Peterson.
That same day, Peterson notified Michigan State Police of a possible embezzlement. State Police requested the assistance of the US Secret Service to investigate the crime.
"It was clear to us that monies were embezzled from the school district in the amount of over $800 thousand," says 1st Lieutenant John Halpin, Michigan State Police.
The investigation confirmed that the business manager, a sub-contracted employee who worked for the school for 18 years, acted alone. Her name is not yet being released, but since being relieved of her duties on January 14, she has died.
"Prior to the suspect's death, we were going to seek Federal prosecution. At this time, all avenues in the investigation are still being looked at; the investigation is still on-going to help determine if - and when - any of the money could be recovered. And at this point, that is unclear," says Halpin.
In the wake of the event, Superintendent Peterson is looking forward to a positive future for the Big Bay de Noc School District following "the discovery, investigation and resolution of the criminal actions."
At Monday's school board meeting, Peterson read his official statement and welcomed public comment, but in terms of new information, nothing is being released just yet.
Michigan State Police say that it's been an unfortunate sequence of events, but their investigation will certainly continue.
An Upper Peninsula school district is working to regroup after it was discovered that the former business manager had embezzled money.
According to information from the Michigan State Police and the Big Bay de Noc School District, the deception began with the discovery of unauthorized checks made out to the business manager.
Police were contacted, and the suspect was relieved of her duties and privileges at the Big Bay de Noc Schools.
Investigation into the matter shows that about $800,000 was taken from the district over the past five to eight years.
Authorities note that it will be difficult to determine the exact amount taken, due to the untimely death of the suspect.
At this time, they are working to reconcile their accounts so they can move forward.

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