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Anderson woman embezzled nearly $1 million as bookkeeper for Anderson Schools

Anderson High School
Posted at 7:37 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 19:54:37-04

ANDERSON — An Anderson woman is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after being charged with embezzling nearly $1 million from the Anderson Community School Corporation.

Carla Burke, 62, has been charged with wire fraud and five counts of false income tax returns.

According to court documents, between January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2019, Burke used her position as a bookkeeper for ACSC to embezzle nearly $1 million from the school corporation.

In a June 2022 WRTV Investigates report, the Indiana State Board of Accounts asked Burke, a food service department bookkeeper, to repay $1.1 million to taxpayers.

Burke was responsible for maintaining the financial records for the school lunch fund extracurricular account (ECA) including reconciling the bank account, maintaining vendor invoices, preparing checks to vendors, as well as filing the department’s federal and state payroll withholding taxes.

Rather than submit legitimate vendor expenses, Burke issued approximately 312 checks to herself from ACSC totaling $976,773.29.

READ MORE: Former Anderson schools food service bookkeeper owes taxpayers $1.1 million

To conceal her theft, Burke falsified ACSC records making it appear that the payments were to an ACSC vendor. Burke used the stolen funds for her own personal expenditures, including gambling at several casinos.

Burke also willfully failed to report approximately $225,381 in income she derived from the scheme on her tax returns and lied to federal agents when questioned about her illegal conduct.

The unreported $225,381 lead to the five counts of false income tax reports.

ACSC issued the following statement to WRTV in June:

"Carla Burke, a former Food Service employee with the Anderson Community School Corporation (ACSC), orchestrated an elaborate scheme to steal money from the department's School Lunch Fund Extra-Curricular Account," read the statement. "At the moment the theft was first uncovered, we immediately reported this to the proper authorities and took corrective action. This includes putting additional internal control measures in place and purchasing new financial software that will help prevent a situation like this from happening in the future. While Ms. Burke's theft was significant, since it was done over several years, it did not cause any disruption in services to our students. ACSC takes theft of any kind very seriously. Which is why we will continue to fully cooperate with the Indiana State Board of Accounts (ISBA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and other authorities throughout this ongoing process."