New Castle News

March 12, 2014

Former vo-tech employee charged with theft

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A former employee of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center has been charged with stealing money from the school.

State police charged Chastity Williams, 37, of 2724 W. State St. with stealing $92,412.92 while she was assistant business manager at the vo-tech school.

The charges are theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

According to documents police filed with District Judge Jerry Cartwright, the school hired the accounting firm of Zelenkofske Axelrod to perform a forensic audit for any “unusual and unauthorized” transactions for the period from March 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2013.

The audit details all aspects of the theft, including timekeeping and overtime rates, according to the complaint. It states that police were provided a copy of the audit on March 4, 2014.

Leonard Rich, the center’s director, said Williams had worked at the school for three years and resigned last August. Rich, who became director in November, said he would not comment on the case because it is a personnel matter.

Police said Williams’ responsibilities included payroll and records. She stole the funds by allotting herself unauthorized overtime, taking the insurance allotment waiver while still receiving benefits and increasing her overtime pay rates, police said.

Williams took 2,463.5 in unauthorized overtime hours, police said, adding that an email had specified that all overtime performed before or after school hours had to be approved by the center’s director.

Police said Williams changed her overtime rates and exceeded her calculated overtime rates by 83 cents to $5.60. She also took $1,250 for choosing to waive the school’s health insurance, even though she was enrolled in the center’s health plan and, therefore, was not entitled to the claim, police said.

Williams salary was $47,000 a year plus benefits when she resigned.

The center’s board hired Zelenkofske Axelrod in October to perform a forensic audit to determine what had happened to a fund balance the practical nursing program had a few years ago.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)