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Principal allegedly misused school credit card

The principal of an elementary school in Prince William County, Virginia, who is accused of embezzling school district funds, is now facing criminal charges.

The woman, whose school is in the Northern Virginia community of Woodbridge, allegedly charged $8,000 in personal expenses on a credit card issued by the school district between June 2011 and March 2012.

Investigators for the school district recently uncovered what they believed could have been purchases that were not school related, then asked police to step in and continue the investigation. Based on their findings, police charged the principal, age 48, with a single count of embezzlement. She was released on bond and is due back in court on June 13.

A spokesman for the school district said the principal has been placed on administrative leave. A former school principal who worked in the district for 32 years before retiring in 2010 has taken over as acting principal while the case is pending. The spokesman said that while the woman's arrest disturbed school officials, they were happy to see that the district's system of financial checks and balances worked to uncover a potential fraud.

The arrested woman had served as the school's principal since 2010, after three years as assistant principal at another campus. She began working for the county schools department in 2003, according to district officials. She also taught in the district before becoming an administrator.

It's important that the principal be given a chance to make her case. It's possible that she was always intending to pay back the school, if she did make the charges she's alleged to have made. It's also important to know whether law enforcement followed the law when examining financial records.

Source: News & Messenger, "Kilby Elementary principal charged with embezzlement," David Pierce, May 3, 2012

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