Covering Louisiana

Nov 15, 2013 5:23 PM by AP

Audit: ex-bookkeeper took $147K from high school

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An audit of East Beauregard High School in DeRidder found that the former bookkeeper took $147,600 in school activity funds over eight years, according to the Legislative Auditor's Office.

The audit alleges that Sharon Bushnell took the money between June 2005 and May 2013, possibly violating state theft laws. The report has been referred to the 36th Judicial District Attorney's Office and others for review.

A call to the only Sharon Bushnell listed in the parish was not immediately returned.

The audit released Friday quotes Bushnell as saying she took the money to pay her husband's medical bills and to support her household.

She changed accounting system records to conceal the missing money before balancing the school's checking account, according to the audit.

Auditors recommend that the Beauregard Parish School Board seek recovery of the money, change the electronic accounting system so receipts cannot be changed, and have bank accounts balanced by someone other than the person who collects and records receipts.

State law lets schools collect activity funds from student activities, sports events, fundraisers and dues for membership in campus organizations and deposit them in the school's bank account.

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