Saturday, November 23, 2013

Former secretary pleads guilty to embezzling activity fees from 2 Anchorage high schools

A former school secretary who stole more than $135,000 in East High School students' activity fees over several years has admitted to the theft, the largest in Anchorage School District history.

Gayle White, 46, entered a plea deal with state prosecutors. On Monday she pleaded guilty to second-degree theft, reduced from the original charges of first-degree theft and scheme to defraud.

White, a Wasilla resident, was working at Chugiak High School when officials discovered in 2011 she had stolen about $5,000, bit by bit, from fees students paid in cash for various school activities. The school district fired her in April 2011.

While she was on probation in that case, police learned that White had stolen much more during previous employment at East High School.

Police said White had stolen about $100,500 from 2006 to 2009 from East High when the charges were first filed. The school district said it had been the largest single incidence of theft they had ever seen.

After the Monday plea hearing, Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion said the total amount was more than $135,000, which White must pay back as restitution. White has made a $5,000 "down payment" and was ordered to pay $1,000 per month, Campion said.

White was sentenced to serve three months behind bars and may be eligible to serve that time on electronic ankle monitor, Campion said.

"She can't pay restitution if she's in jail," he said.

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