MARSHALL COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A former bookkeeper at Oak Grove Elementary School in Lewisburg has been indicted after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

The investigation began after school officials reported discrepancies with book fair collections.

Investigators determined Jennifer Foster stole $12,325.46 from the school by removing and keeping cash collected for the school’s book fairs, chorus clubs, field trips and Chromebook insurance payments from students who lost or damaged computers, according to a release.

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The Comptroller’s Office reported Foster used a common scheme to misappropriate cash. For example, the school librarian noted the book fair generated $256.10 in checks and $1,861.45 in cash on Oct. 3, 2019. The librarian provided the money for deposit. The checks were deposited on Oct. 30, 2019; however, investigators found no evidence the $1,861.45 in cash was deposited or accounted for in the school’s records.

Comptroller investigators reportedly found evidence of Foster’s misappropriation throughout her employment as the school’s bookkeeper beginning in 2017 through her resignation in August 2021.

In an effort to conceal her actions, the Comptroller’s Office said Foster fabricated and falsified various accounting records to disguise the true and actual balances of money on deposit in school accounts. For example, she provided the school librarian with a spreadsheet in December 2019 reflecting a balance of $791.82 in the library account, when in fact, on or about the same time, there was a negative balance of $6,178.89.

Foster reportedly made deposits totaling $3,429.41 in the school’s bank account in an attempt to repay the misappropriated funds; however, a shortage of $8,896.05 remains.

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The Marshall County Grand Jury indicted Foster in March 2023 for two counts of theft of property over $10,000, one count of forgery and one count of official misconduct.

“Schools must ensure they are providing proper oversight of financial activities to reduce the opportunity for errors or theft,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “In this case, the bookkeeper had control of receipting collections, preparing bank deposits, and reconciling receipts with bank deposits without adequate oversight.”

Foster acknowledged to investigators she took money for her personal use, according to a release.