Saturday, October 9, 2010

Former Wakita school employee charged with embezzlement in Oklahoma

A Manchester woman was arraigned this week in Grant County District Court on a felony embezzlement charge alleging she stole more than $26,000 from Wakita Public Schools.Amanda Jean Kerr, 30, is accused of taking $26,469 from the school between July 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2009, when she was employed by Wakita Public Schools.The felony embezzlement charge is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 and restitution.According to an affidavit filed in the case, Grant County Deputy Scott Sterling met with Superintendent Gerald Miller Feb. 10 in regard to embezzlement at the school.
Miller said he’d been contacted about suspicions in activity accounts and by a teacher who asked how Kerr’s paycheck could be larger than hers, according to the affidavit. He said he knew that could not be possible, so he placed Kerr on administrative leave and began the termination process.Miller said when he spoke with Kerr she confessed she’d been overpaying herself, according to the affidavit. Miller also told the deputy he requested a payroll audit of Kerr from an Enid firm, the affidavit states.Kerr was contracted with the school for a $25,000 salary annually, and her duties included overseeing activity accounts, accounts payable, payroll, health insurance and other duties. She was the only one in charge of those duties and had no oversight.Kerr was supposed to receive checks of $2,083.33 a month, but would receive multiple checks for as a little as $98 and as much as $5,127 a month, doubling her contracted salary, according to the affidavit.Money also was misappropriated from the academic account, junior class account, FFA account, FCCLA account, yearbook activity account and activity funds account, totaling $6,596.07, according to the affidavit.An investigation also found purchases had been charged to the school at businesses where the school does not have accounts, according to the affidavit.Purchases included a folding table, candy, paper goods and a pink Nintendo DS Lite. Payments to Kerr’s husband’s credit cards also were paid with money from the school, according to the affidavit.A check also was issued to Kerr for $220, which she was supposed to cash and reimburse students who overpaid for lunch, but the money never was given back to the students, according to the affidavit.On Feb. 19, Miller met with school board member Jerry Biby and John Kerr, Amanda Kerr’s father-in-law. During the meeting, Miller accepted two cashiers checks for reimbursement on behalf of Wakita Public Schools. The checks were issued for $6,600 and $6,902.18. Another $1,075 was found missing from the school’s sales of soda pop.Kerr is scheduled for a bond appearance Nov. 15.

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