Audit of Arlington High School Theft Released
(WREG-TV) An audit released by the TN State Comptroller says a lack of oversight allowed a former Arlington High School bookkeeper to allegedly steal more than $140,000, “Former principal failed to review supporting documentation prior to signing checks, resulting in numerous questionable and unsupported disbursements.”
The audit which was released Thursday shows purchases, including a drum set for a family member, using money from school accounts.
The audit states, “…to conceal the misappropriation, Ms. Cox altered, discarded, or destroyed school records (refer to Exhibits 1 through 2a), and she substituted unrecorded checks issued to the school for cash collections she withheld for her personal use.”
Toni Cox was indicted for the theft.
She was arrested Tuesday night and bonded out of jail Wednesday.
Cox is facing 8 to 12 years prison if convicted of this crime.
It was the Tennessee State Comptroller who discovered the missing money from Arlington High School.
Prosecutors say between July 2008 and June 2010, the high school’s bookkeeper was altering records and pocketing cash before it even hit the books.
“Toni Cox, former bookkeeper at Arlington High School, has been indicted by the Shelby County grand jury for theft of property of over $60,000,” said District Attorney Amy Weirich.
Auditors say Cox stole money from nearly every school organization, activity, and fee for two years.
“It’s sad for the kids. They are the ones that needed the money,” said William Graham, Cox’s former neighbor.
Shelby County Schools released this statement: “This employee resigned in May 2010. Since then, the administration of Arlington High School has instituted multiple measures to safeguard the school from any such situations.”
Cox had access to all the school’s money and prosecutors say she did what she wanted with it.
“Situations like that, people have been given trust,” said Weirich. “It causes all of us concern.”
WREG went by Cox’s house in Lakeland, which neighbors say has been “for sale” for months.
“She has been very sick and they had to move because she couldn’t afford to keep up this house,” said a neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous.
Her neighbor didn’t want to go on camera but couldn’t believe the accusations, “I don`t believe it. I don`t believe it. They were very hardworking people.”
Other neighbors say they heard rumors years ago.
“I hate that people get in trouble and end up in jail like that. Bad decisions,” said Graham.
Cox’s next court date has not yet been set. She bonded out with $10,000.
Her neighbor tell WREG that Cox has been sick for years with an illness and doesn’t believe she’s physically well enough to do jail time.