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Collettsville School Secretary Charged With Embezzlement

The Caldwell County Sheriff's office is estimating that former school secretary Emily Hawkins embezzled at least $40,000 from the Collettsville school where she worked. The investigation into the alleged employee theft began after local law enforcement received tips about suspicious purchases that Hawkins had made.

Hawkins is now facing at least 10 counts of embezzlement by a public officer or trustee related to the theft of funds from the school system. She was immediately fired from her position as lead secretary.

Employee theft is more common than we would all like to believe. It is a form of financial fraud. Employee theft includes taking money from a cash register or taking retail goods without paying for them. Also, offering discounts on merchandise that is not already marked down may be considered a form of employee theft if the markdown is unauthorized.

Embezzlement is different from simple theft, like shoplifting, because the employee had a right to possess the items - money, in this instance - but misused that right and used the items for his or her own benefit.

Embezzlement can have serious consequences. In addition to possible jail time, a person convicted of embezzlement will typically be required to pay restitution. That means he or she will have to pay back the amount of money stolen or the value of the goods wrongfully taken from an employer.

Source: WCNC, "Sheriff: Caldwell School employee stole $40K from school," May 9, 2013

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