Audit: Former Employee Stole Student Fees from Shawnee Local School District
Columbus – A former secretary who stole $34,400 from the Shawnee Local School District targeted payments made by students and their parents for field trips, yearbooks and other fees.
An investigation by Auditor of State Dave Yost’s Public Integrity Assurance Team (PIAT) found that Kimberly Hall stole the funds from the Allen County school district between August 2012 and June 2016.
“It’s distressing for the entire community when a trusted public employee turns out to be a thief,” Auditor Yost said. “Now that justice is secured in this case, the district needs to deter other would-be thieves by enhancing its monitoring of cash collection points.”
As a middle school secretary, Hall was responsible for collecting student fees and submitting them to the district treasurer. The district’s audit report released today shows that Hall stole $33,680 while she held this position.
Hall’s theft continued after she was promoted in March 2016 to facilities administrative assistant, a position she used to steal an additional $720 from rental fees during the three months that followed. She resigned in June 2016 after the district placed her on administrative leave at the start of the investigation.
Investigators and forensic auditors also traced Hall’s crimes to the Shawnee Baseball Boosters Association, where she was treasurer. In this role, Hall stole $21,798 from the booster group and attempted to conceal the theft by making $14,347 in unexplained deposits into the organization’s bank accounts.
Judge Jeffrey Reed of the Allen County Common Pleas Court sentenced Hall on Oct. 29 to two years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to the district and the boosters. She pleaded guilty on Sept. 27 to theft in office, a third-degree felony, in addition to a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft.
The conviction is the second involving the district this year. In February, Heather O’Connor pleaded guilty to grand theft for stealing $77,587 from the district’s Parent Teacher Committee and $9,277 from the Little Indians Volleyball Association. She was sentenced to serve five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution. The case was investigated by PIAT.
A special report published by Auditor Yost in November 2017 highlights the dangers local governments face when financial processes go unchecked. According to the report, more than $3.4 million in payments received by local governments in the past decade never made it into the government accounts.
A full copy of the district’s audit report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.