ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 44-year-old Wasilla woman who pleaded guilty to a school theft case last year is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 in student fees when she was employed earlier as a secretary at another Anchorage school.
Gayle White has been issued a court summons to answer felony charges of theft, falsifying business records and scheming to defraud.
White is believed to have embezzled nearly $100,500 as a student activities secretary at East High School between August 2006 and May 2009, Anchorage police said Wednesday. White, who could not be reached for comment, has been running a daycare business out of her home, according to charging documents.
Det. Tony Pate gave a scenario of how the East High scheme went. If, for example, a student club brought in $100 in cash for its funding cache and a student brought in a check to pay for participating in a sport, White would keep the cash and put the unrelated check money in the club’s account, Pate said.
“Basically, she would keep cash and move checks around so it would look like they weren’t losing money,” he said.
The discrepancies were discovered by a school district audit. The charges against White were filed Tuesday.
According to police, White is represented by attorney Pam Dale, who declined to comment to The Associated Press. Dale represented White in the 2011 case involving Chugiak High School.
In the East High case, White is due in court for a June 22 arraignment. If she fails to show up, a judge could issue a bench warrant for her arrest. Pate expects her to be there, the detective said, adding he spoke with White’s attorney after the charges were filed.
White was among two school district employees fired last year in Chugiak High theft cases. White worked in the attendance office and was accused of stealing money between November 2009 and March 2011.
She originally was charged with theft and falsifying business records in that case, which estimated as much as $5,000 a year could have been stolen. White later pleaded guilty to theft in a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for dismissal of the records falsification count.
The other former Chugiak High worker, Brenda Burge, was accused of embezzling nearly $75,000 in activity fees and other student payments as a school clerk. Her case remains open. Her attorney, Greg Parvin, was not immediately available for comment, according to an assistant at his office.
According to charging documents in that case, Burge and White were good friends.
Two other school district employees suspected of stealing also were fired last year.
In one case, 20 parents at O’Malley Elementary School called the principal complaining that their children’s lunch money accounts had not been credited with cash payments.
Dawn Reynolds, who was the lunch room manager at the time, was originally charged with theft, scheming to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal use of a computer. She later pleaded guilty to theft in an agreement with prosecutors.
The fourth employee fired, a worker at West High School, was not charged. But she did not get her job back, according to school district spokeswoman Heidi Embley.
Embley said the cases led to ongoing changes in the district’s cash-handling methods.
“Overall, we believe our procedures were good and that people were just getting a little lax,” she said. “So we increased our level of accountability.”
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