Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fairfax county, Virginia High School employee quits after embezzlement charge

A Fairfax County Public Schools employee has resigned after being charged with embezzlement. Susan Thanh Litwin, 37, of Woodbridge, was arrested Friday on allegations that she stole approximately $280,000 from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Litwin had served as a "finance technician" for the school since January 2007 and was responsible for receiving and depositing funds from various sources intended to support student athletics, classes, clubs and other school activities.
"She took care of money coming in from booster clubs and those sorts of programs," said FCPS spokesman Paul Regnier.
According to court documents, Litwin allegedly deposited some of these funds into her personal bank accounts. From about March 2008 through January 2010, court records allege that she stole more than $279,000 through checks or withdrawals ranging from $2,500 to $35,000.
Court records indicate that in an interview with federal agents on Tuesday, Litwin allegedly told law enforcement that the money was used to support a gambling habit that included trips to Las Vegas, Nev., and Atlantic City, N.J.
She also allegedly stated that the theft was a result of extensive credit card debt and large mortgage payments on her home. According to Regnier, Litwin tendered her resignation to FCPS that same day. She turned herself in to the FBI on Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
"These are difficult financial times for many public institutions, and an employee who breaks that trust needs to be held accountable," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a release. "We're grateful for the help Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax County Public Schools provided to this investigation, along with the FBI agents who helped put together the evidence in this case."
Litwin went before federal magistrate John F. Anderson for a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon. Among other conditions, Anderson allowed her to be released on an unsecured bond pending her trial on March 18 on the condition that she refrain from gambling -- including purchasing state-sponsored lottery tickets -- and attend Gambling Anonymous.
Litwin's attorney, Michael Cantrell, was unavailable for comment late Friday afternoon, according to an employee in his law office.

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