Question 1. (12 points)
A Tooele School District employee has been charged with theft and forgery for allegedly stealing approximately $32,000 in district funds.
Mary Blauser, 51, was charged in 3rd District Court Wednesday with one count of second-degree felony theft and five counts of third-degree felony forgery. She is scheduled to make an initial court appearance December 16, before 3rd District Court Judge David Young.
She is the second school district employee to be formally charged with stealing from the district. Both individuals were charged in separate and apparently unrelated cases.
Blauser, who was the district’s payroll clerk, allegedly arranged electronic direct deposits of funds for nonexistent employees; the funds then went to her, according to Tooele Police detective Todd Hewitt. "Over the course of the last 15 months, she was able to allegedly siphon funds out of their [the district’s] account into her account, and she allegedly set up fictitious employees." Hewitt said. "We were able to confirm 31 counts of forgery and second-degree theft."
Hewitt said school district officials became suspicious when they had trouble balancing the district’s account. After an internal audit, school officials came across payroll listings for workers that did not have any matching Social Security numbers.
District officials then turned to police for help. Tooele School Superintendent Larry Schumway said Blauser has been released from her job for malfeasance.
Another school district employee, Cindy Heap, who formerly worked as an elementary school secretary, earlier was charged with one count of second-degree felony theft and 11 counts of forgery in a different case, according to Gary Searle, deputy county attorney. Heap allegedly took just under $80,000 in district funds, Searle said.
Heap, 32, who resigned from her job, is scheduled for a court appearance on December 9, before Judge Young.
What factors do you think allowed these frauds to occur?
What do you think the school district should do to prevent fraud from occurring in the future?