Former employee stole $67K from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, state audit shows

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 20:48:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A former financial analyst at Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind is accused of stealing $67,093 from the school, according to a report released by the Office of the Utah State Auditor.

A few months ago, employees from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind told their superintendent, Joel Coleman, that money was missing from their donation account. That’s when the Utah State Auditor stepped in to investigate.

“Turns out we've identified for at least four years this individual had been stealing money,” said John Dougall, Utah State Auditor.

Auditors discovered a number of accounting irregularities from November 2011-April 2016.

They say the female employee used several unauthorized company credit cards for personal use.

The cards used were:

-USDB Sam's Club credit card, totaling $43,672

-Smith's Kroger credit cards, totaling $11,780

-Gift cards totaling $6,674

-Gift cards/prepaid credit cards, totaling $7,555

The former employee also spent thousands of dollars for personal items:

-$5,464 in electronics

-$1,393 in automobile fuel

-$1,222 in automotive services

-$657 in cigarettes

Other findings of the audit: the woman falsified and destroyed financial reports and didn’t deposit cash in the school account until weeks, sometimes months later.

“She was quite sophisticated and did a good job hiding it,” Coleman said.

Auditors say the employee, who left the school before the discrepancies were discovered, may have stolen money prior to their investigation.

“We don't fault management for this, we fault the individual. It's hard to believe that someone would be so callous as to steal funds that are donated to help blind and deaf students,” Dougall said.

Coleman said they’ve turned over the audit’s findings to Ogden Police and the District Attorney’s office.

While they’ve taken a big financial hit, Coleman assures parents their child’s education will not be affected.

“It’s a setback for us in raising the donated funds we were raising to try to provide an outdoor education center to help the families and students with things outside the school,” Coleman said.

USDB says for the past three years, they've tightened up its inventory control and oversight to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Click the link below to read the entire audit: