Thursday, January 8, 2015

Former Cushing School Secretary Arraigned On Embezzlement Charge

Former Harmony school secretary Mary Susan Porter was arraigned Tuesday on a felony charge accusing her of embezzling $23,823.44 from the Child Nutrition Fund while she was employed by Cushing Public Schools between August 2008 and February 2014.

Porter, 60, of Cushing, was allowed by Special District Judge Robert Hert to remain free on a personal recognizance bond pending a Feb. 2 court appearance when she can seek a preliminary hearing on the charge, court records showed today.

Cushing Police Officer Jerrod Livergood wrote in an affidavit that on Feb. 21, 2014, Cushing Public School Child Nutrition Director John Rhoten reported that Porter was suspected of embezzling money from the school.

“Rhoten said that he and Superintendent Koln Knight had a meeting with Porter in the office at 1401 N. Little on Feb. 20, 2014.

“Rhoten stated that Porter was asked to explain why the cash deposits did not match up with the totals in the main computer.

“Rhoten said the school verified that Porter embezzled $2,387 since the beginning of this school year.

“Rhoten reported Porter said she took the money and was willing to pay it back,” the Cushing police officer alleged in his affidavit.

“Rhoten said that he received a resignation from Porter along with two checks totaling $2,387.

“Rhoten advised that the Cushing Public School would like to press charges on Porter for the embezzlement,” the affidavit alleged.

When Porter was interviewed by Livergood at the Cushing Police Department on April 10, 2014, “Porter said that she made a really bad decision and started taking money from the lunch money accounts,” the affidavit alleged.

“Porter said that she took money for the past three years,” the affidavit alleged.

“Porter wrote in her statement, ‘it was a horribly wrong thing to do and I truly do regret my actions,’” the affidavit alleged.

“Porter said that when she was confronted by Knight and Rhoten, she felt very remorseful and paid back the amount they said was missing for the year,” the affidavit alleged.

Livergood said, “I informed her that the initial numbers they provided her of $2,387 has been corrected for the year and that the corrected amount of missing money for the 2013-2014 year is $2,577.

“Porter said she was willing to pay the difference to the corrected amount and the amount for the previous two years,” the affidavit alleged.

“The total loss for Aug. 2008 to Feb. 2014 is $23,823.44. Porter paid back the school a total of $2,387 at the time of her resignation,” the affidavit alleged.

Embezzlement carries a maximum penalty of a five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine, along with an order to pay restitution and an amount equal to 10 percent of any court-ordered restitution for deposit to the School Investigative Audit Revolving Fund, court records show.

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