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After $278,000 embezzled, Brevard schools in Florida consider centralizing finances.
In 2007, money started disappearing from Southwest Middle School.
7 years later more than $100,000 was missing. It wasn’t until the principal noticed irregularities and an internal audit revealed the problem: the bookkeeper. Natalie Jean Jones had been stealing money bit by bit for seven years, forging more than 100 checks before she was arrested and sentenced to 7 years in prison.
A few years later, another bookkeeper of Brevard Public Schools was caught doing, allegedly, the same thing. Over the course of two years, police say Patricia Coleman embezzled $170,000 from Eau Gallie High School.
“Situations like at Brevard Schools bring light to this fact that we have some gaps to protect our assets,” said Desmond Blackburn, Superintendent.
School hired a “bona fide” CFO Pennie Zuercher who joined to audit the existing system. According to Zuercher, under the current accounting system at the schools one person does everything. For years, both bookkeepers eluded auditors’ suspicions – all the more reason, to get all the accounts in the same place and implement more oversight.