Police investigate $8,000+ fraud charges to Thomasville elementary school account

Published: Aug. 1, 2019 at 8:10 PM EDT
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By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

August 1, 2019

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Just days before the start of a new school year, Thomasville City Schools reported thousand of dollars missing under Harper Elementary's school account.

Wednesday morning, the school system notified police of charges under Harper Elementary's account.

The first few purchases were made at Dillard's for $1,163, $1451, and $2,955.

Later in May, the largest purchase of $3,010 was made at Macy's.

The total adds up to more than $8,500. According to the National Retail Federation, it could supply nearly 70 kids with all their classroom necessities.

The NRF says the average parent spends $122 on school supplies required for the classroom.

According to Thomasville Police reports, the fraudulent charges were noted to be for uniforms.

However, when the city school district office contacted Harper Elementary, the principal stated they never made any purchases.

"This type of crime doesn't just necessarily affect the school or their accounting system. It also trickles down to the students themselves because it takes away funding for them," said Toby Knifer, over TPD's Criminal Investigations Division.

Reports in 2018 through Georgia's Department of Education show Harper Elementary had a 94% poverty level.

It also stated 100% of students recieved free breakfast and lunch through federal funding. In comparison, another city elementary school just up the road only showed only 30% percent of students were eligible for the food service program.

"I suspect who does this may not know who they're actually stealing from," said Knifer.

Investigators believe it's likely an unknown, outside source that compromised the account information without a second thought of it's impact to local kids.

TPD is now in the process of tracking down what was bought in hopes it leads to their suspect.

WCTV reached out to Thomasville City Schools for comment, but have not heard back.