ASD employee charged with embezzling thousands from schools

Anchorage police have charged a former Anchorage School District employee with embezzlement. The charges come after a five month investigation. APD fraud division detective Tony Pate told reporters Tuesday that the suspect, Kellie Fagan, allegedly took between $50,000-$60,000 in school district funds from two schools.

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Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Paramo and Detective Tony Pâté at SPF. Press conference onTuesday (Photo by Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Paramo and Detective Tony Pâté at SPF. Press conference on Tuesday (Photo by Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

“It was pretty complicated,” Pate said. “The forged checks were part of a dual signature system the school district uses. She forged both signatures for that, and that was verified when we talked to the people who’s signatures were allegedly on there.”

Pate said Fagan, aged 61, used her ASD procurement card and forged checks to reimburse herself for purchases, voided computer deposit records to hide theft, and moved money from one account to another through forged checks. She has been charged with four felonies: Scheme to Defraud, Theft, Falsifying Business Records, and Forgery.

The thefts occurred between 2010 and 2016. When the fraud was discovered, Fagan was a Gruening Middle School Financial Data Clerk, who collected money for student activities. She had also worked at Central Middle School, and embezzled funds there as well.

ASD superintendent Dr. Deena Paramo said the suspect does not represent the school district’s 6,000 employees, and likens the thefts to insider trading

“When someone steals from people in Alaska, from school districts, they steal from classrooms,” Paramo said. “As our budget is 25 percent paid for by local citizens and 75 percent by the state, they are stealing from the city of Anchorage and they are stealing from the state of Alaska.”

Paramo said the school district is undergoing a business process review and is moving toward an accounting system for student activities that will be available online, which will generate electronic receipts.

The thefts were discovered earlier this year, during an audit. Once the fraud was discovered, it was turned over to APD ‘s fraud unit. Fagan was immediately placed on administrative leave, and terminated in April, 2016.

APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone.
Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA
elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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