Thursday, January 7, 2016

Johnston, Rhode Island teacher facing embezzlement charges

A Johnston High School science teacher is accused of embezzlement and counterfeiting for allegedly putting his name on checks made out to the school for student activities.
Police said Greg Russo, 57, was arraigned Friday on two counts of forgery and one count of embezzlement, according to court documents.
Target 12 spoke exclusively with a woman who said she wrote two of the checks that were turned over to the police.
The woman, named Denise, is a Johnston taxpayer who said she wrote a check for student activity. She said she is shocked by the alleged crime and when she got her check back from the bank, she noticed something strange.
“I noticed there was an additional name on the check,” she told Target 12. “I didn’t write it. So that was my concern.”
Police are alleging that Russo, who’s worked for the school district for 28 years, wrote his name on several checks, signed the back, and then cashed them.
In this case, the name “Greg Russo” appears above “Johnston High School.”
“All I know is he did not get permission from me to add his name,” Denise said. “I was shocked that someone altered my check.”
Target 12 went to Russo’s home Friday to get his side of the story, but a person at the house said he was not home.
Russo also has not returned phone calls asking for comment.
The criminal complaint against Russo indicates he is charged with one count of embezzlement and two counts of counterfeiting. As the document states, Russo allegedly forged, altered and counterfeited checks.
Police are not releasing the number of checks or the amount of money allegedly involved.
Denise told Target 12 the situation is not just about the money.
“It’s the principle of it. That someone could take it upon themselves to do that,” she said.
Neither police nor the superintendent would go on camera Friday. The superintendent did say Russo remains suspended with pay at this time.
He is due back in court in February.

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