Saturday, January 03, 2009

School embezzlement in Woodbridge

From the NHRs James Tinley:

WOODBRIDGE — A former secretary at Amity Regional High School was arrested Friday in the embezzlement of more than $100,000 in school funds over the past two years.

Susan Catin, 57, of 143 Pine Hill Road in Thomaston, allegedly pocketed cash and altered 37 checks so she could cash them or deposit them into her own bank account, police said.

Much of the cash was revenue from athletic events and musical and drama productions that came across Catin’s desk at Amity High School. The money was supposed to be forwarded to the school’s finance office, but never made it past Catin, police said.

Orange First Selectman James Zeoli, whose town sends students to the regional high school, said the alleged thefts should have been spotted.

This incident reminds me of an incident here in Cheshire a few years ago. No, I'm not suggesting anything happened that was of a nature that was both illegal and immoral. But I do recall an incident in which no one could show me where the school's "audited financial statements" reconciled to the Board of Ed's meeting minutes. And ummm... what's the point in having the Board of Ed vote on a budget, if their budget has nothing to do with reality?

Anyway, at that time I decided against pushing the issue because I'm sure the Board of Ed would have rubber stamped whatever came their way*... the issue was more that someone had forgotten to remind them to rubber stamp the final budget.

But that's for background.

My point here is that when I started making phone calls to determine if laws had been broken, I soon learned that here in Corrupticut... there's no enforcement mechanism for the long short arm of the law.

And that's a big part of why I advocate for:

1) subpoena power for states' attorneys

2) easier ability to convene a grand jury

Both would go a long way in cleaning up The Nutmeg State.

And yes, I recognize that the law worked in this case. But I also recognize that it's all too often (Rowland '04, Newton '06, Deluca '07, Lauretti '08) that the feds still need to do the work themselves because CT law enforcement lacks the tools for proper enforcement.

Tim White

* I think most reasonable people would conclude that the BOE would rubber stamp almost any set of numbers within reason... and those numbers were within "reason."

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