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Southeast Employee On Unpaid Leave Over Theft Investigation
New information about stolen funds from Southeast High School shows the missing money was part of the school's Activity Fund. That includes money from fundraisers, booster clubs, donations, and ticket sales at sporting events.
Most people ABC NewsChannel 20 spoke with said they feel betrayed that the theft came directly from the money student organizations need throughout the year.
"It's not fair to the children, especially to the parents who don't have money to send with kids to school," Lawana Harper, a mother with two daughters at Southeast, said.
Officials said a district employee stole anywhere from $13,000 to $100,000. Community members who have supported the school's activities over the years aren't too happy with the news either.
"It just makes me feel really disappointed--really disappointed that people do things like that," District 186 schools supporter Tom Oseland said.
Interim Superintendent Bob Leming told us the district's investigation initially started after receiving a tip from a whistle-blower. An audit shortly after confirmed their suspicions.
The district then turned the investigation over to Illinois State Police to find out how much was stolen and how long it's been going on.
"We think for at least over the last year, the 2012-2013 school year. It could be more, but that's why the investigation is going deeper," Leming said.
The district completes an audit every year. The account the money is missing from is accessed by dozens of school employees for clubs or teams they sponsor or coach. With so many different organizations using the funds, ABC NewsChannel 20 asked if there was any room for a simple accounting error.
"I don't think there's any uncertainty. I think it's pretty clear. There's been an admission. And so with that type of information, it's confirmed in the eyes of the Illinois State Police, and us, that there's been a crime," Leming said.
ISP is still investigating the theft, and an official arrest has not yet been made. The Sangamon County State's Attorney's office will decide on what charges the suspect will face. Right now, the school employee who is a suspect has been suspended without pay. At this time, the investigation is centered on just one person.
The district may be able to re-coup some or all of the missing funds through insurance.