Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GBI Finds Missing Checks $300,000 Meant for School District

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GBI Finds Missing Checks $300,000 Meant for School District

Article excerpt

PEARSON -- Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents have recovered about $300,000 in missing checks intended for the Atkinson County School District.

The uncashed checks -- mostly property tax payments -- were found this month on the same day as the unexplained resignation of a veteran school system employee, according to a county school board member.

No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation, which includes a review of school district finances by authorities from the Georgia Department of Audits.

District Attorney Bob Ellis said yesterday he will present the case to an Atkinson County grand jury for consideration of possible criminal charges as soon as the investigation is completed.

"All the missing checks that we know of have been recovered and accounted for. But we are doing [the] additional audit to make sure that we do not miss anything," Ellis said.

Ellis said October is the earliest that the grand jury will convene in regular session, and by then he expects the probe will be completed.

Superintendent Sandra Dickson, who called in the GBI and state auditors, emphasized that no school district money is missing.

"All of the checks have been recovered. There was no attempt made to cash them that we know of," Dickson said.

Dickson also said school system operations were not disrupted by the disappearance of the checks.

Ellis said the missing checks had been recorded on the school district's monthly bookkeeping/accounting reports as if actually deposited in its bank account.

School board member William A. King said the former employee, who had finance-related duties, had taken the uncashed checks home.

"Why did [the former employee] have the checks? That's the $64,000 question that we'd all like to know the answer to," King said.

King wants Dickson to update board members and the public about the situation at the panel's regular meeting on July 1. …

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