Former school district employee accused of stealing more than $ 40,000

A former Joseph City Unified School District employee was charged after officials said she stole more than $ 40,000 in district funds, the Arizona Attorney General said Tuesday.

According to a press release from the office, Tonnie Rae Pugh was accused of using $ 40,436 raised by faculty, students and parents for her personal use between July 2011 and January 2018.

Pugh’s duties as the district schooling secretary included collecting and depositing funds from fundraising for student clubs, selling tickets to sporting events, dances, and other fees, according to a financial investigation report from the State Auditor General Office.

She also served intermittently as the district’s wrestling tournament director during which she collected and deposited tournament entry fees from participating school districts, the report said.

Pugh served at the school for nearly 30 years before resigning in February 2018 when district officials “questioned them about irregularities in their bank deposits,” the report said.

“Ms. Pugh confirmed to county officials, and later to us, that she ‘borrowed’ county money to pay personal bills,” the report said. “As of this reporting date, Ms. Pugh has paid the district $ 9,950 for part of the amount she ‘borrowed’. “”

The report says Pugh also falsified records to hide her actions, including replacing the funds she embezzled with the payments she raised while serving as a wrestling tournament director.

“Ms. Pugh was able to hide about 70 percent of her suspected cash theft with checks for tournament entry fees,” the report said.

Pugh was charged on November 2 with fraudulent schemes and artifacts, breach of public money manager duties, and theft, according to a lawsuit filed with the Navajo County Supreme Court.

The Joseph City Unified School District is located about 20 miles east of Winslow, Navajo County, and serves more than 500 students from preschool through 12th grade.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @curtis_chels.

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