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Former Mitchell School Treasurer Kathy Kirk Arrested For Theft

Last updated on Saturday, April 21, 2012

(MITCHELL) 57-year-old, Kathy J. Kirk, former treasurer of the Mitchell Community Schools, was arrested on charges of forgery, theft and corrupt business influence.

She was booked into the Lawrence County jail Friday. Bond was set at $20,000.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Indiana State Police Detective Tim Denby Kirk claims Kirk embezzled more than $85,000 from the Mitchell Community Schools during her time as the school's treasurer.

"Kirk admitted that between 2003 and 2011, while treasurer for the Mitchell Community Schools, she had stolen between $12,000 and $14,000."

The money went to a variety of personal expenses, the paperwork states, from telephone bills and back taxes to a vacuum cleaner and her daughter's college tuition.

"Kirk further admitted causing the Mitchell Community Schools to be late paying taxes, which incurred fines and penalties for late payments to the state and federal government," the affidavit states

"Kirk admitted redirecting employees' payroll checks into her personal bank account. Kirk admitted that she could not remember all of the thefts and forgeries she had committed during her tenure as the school's treasurer."

Mitchell School Superintendent Steve Phillips says in January 2011 he found irregularities in credit card purchases made by Kirk. Phillips says she used the corporation's two VISA card to make unauthorized purchases. Phillips reported the discrepancies to the State Board of Accounts and requested an investigation.

The audit by the State Board of Accounts found several problems from duplicate payments for the same purchase to checks that had been written by not approved by the school board.

They also found that the two VISA cards were used to make $6,806 in purchases and fee with no supporting documentation.

According to a probable cause affidavit Kirk used the VISA cards to pay bills twice and then redirect the funds to pay her personal credit card bills. She then created false invoices to pay for her personal expenses and hide the thefts.

After the audit, the school system made several changes to correct the accounting and documentation errors.

The corporation now has only one VISA card, which is kept in a safe and logged out when needed.

Kirk resigned as corporation treasurer effective Feb. 7, 2011.

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