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Former Texas official charged with embezzlement of $600 thousand from school district

August 26, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former Texas official charged with embezzlement of $600 thousand from school district

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The former Chief Financial Officer for the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Texas has been charged with the embezzlement of more than $600,000 from the school district.

The stolen funds were money that had been designated for teachers, supplies, and other school-related needs.

According to Fox 4 News, 61-year-old Carolyn Foster was charged with federal theft and embezzlement charges after she reportedly stole money between October 2014 and July 2015.

Dr. Susan Hall, the district’s Superintendent, said in a statement: “Carolyn Foster was the CFO, and she simply abused her power. She was dishonest with her staff; she manipulated procedures, and she stole money.”

The statement also noted that Foster abused her authority to obtain access to a cash vault in the administration building.

For almost a year, the district alleges that Foster withdrew money from school bank accounts and ordered it to be delivered by armored truck to her office. Foster later told the finance department that the funds were being used for teacher awards, school supplies, and lawsuit settlements despite the fact that there were no suits that required cash settlements.

Barry Sorrels, an attorney who is not connected to the case, said that the school district should have implemented a checks and balances system.

“Federal law enforcement authorities treat embezzlement of taxpayers’ dollars and theft of taxpayers’ dollars seriously,” he stated. “She did have autonomy, but we did have processes and procedures in place that she manipulated, that she circumvented. She abused the position that she had, and she abused the trust that her staff had in her.”

Hull said that more safeguards have been introduced as a result of the incident.

The superintendent explained: “We have created a process that makes it virtually impossible for anyone, even a high ranking executive, even me, to be able to access cash without the express written consent of at least two others.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled there’s been an arrest and thrilled there’s been an indictment,” Hull added.

Foster began working for the district back in 2009 as a Finance Director and was advanced to CFO in 2012, giving her a salary of close to $150,000 a year.

Foster was arrested at the International Leadership of Texas office in Richardson, where she was working for the charter school district with institutions across Houston and North Texas.

The district announced that Foster’s contract was immediately terminated. If convicted of embezzlement, she faces up to 10 years behind bars.

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