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Ex-Science Hill basketball booster president accused of stealing thousands from club

Johnson City Press • Nov 17, 2017 at 2:09 PM

The former president of Science Hill High School’s boys basketball booster organization has been indicted on a charge that she stole more than $6,000 from the club’s account.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office announced Friday the Washington County Grand Jury indictment of Kimberly Charles on a charge of one count of theft over $2,500. She was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Friday morning with a Criminal Court hearing set for the next term.

According to a news release, the Comptroller’s Office began its investigation after booster club members and Johnson City Schools reported questionable transactions in the boosters’ bank records.

From June 2015 through April 2016, Charles stole at least $6,150 from the booster club and used the money for her personal benefit, the report said. Charles handled many of the booster club’s financial responsibilities, and investigators determined that Charles used three schemes to steal the funds.

Charles purchased a prepaid cash card with booster club funds. She used the card to pay for a relative’s college fees and purchase Mary Kay products and meals at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery. She also failed to deposit cash collected during a booster club fundraiser and withdrew cash from the booster club bank account which was not used for the club’s benefit.

Booster club board members questioned Charles about some of these issues in 2016, and she stated that she had made some mistakes with the boosters’ funds. She made a $1,000 deposit into the boosters’ checking account in July 2016, but she had made no other repayments, the Comptroller’s Office said in the release.

“Booster clubs are required by state law to safeguard funds and adopt a policy for handling money and other property,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “These policies must ensure that financial responsibilities are divided between multiple people, and supporting documentation is maintained for purchases and withdrawals. I am encouraged to note that booster club officials have indicated their intention to correct these weaknesses.”

The Comptroller’s report also took the Boys Basketball Boosters organization to task:

“Our investigation revealed that the boosters’ failure to implement the model financial policy fully resulted in deficiencies in the organization’s financial processes,” the report states. “These deficiencies contributed to the former president’s ability to perpetrate her misappropriation without prompt detection.”

The deficiencies included:

— Boosters officials failed to separate incompatible financial duties or to provide increased oversight when appropriate. The former president received collections, prepared and delivered deposits to the bank, frequently prepared and was the sole signer on most checks, and was the only official who reviewed bank statements.

— Boosters officials did not require or retain adequate supporting documentation for disbursements and other withdrawals.

Science Hill High School Boys Basketball Boosters officials indicated that they have corrected or intend to correct these deficiencies, the report states.

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

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