Bank recovers $484,000 stolen from Teton School District

DRIGGS — A bank informed the Teton School District that a portion of funds recently stolen from the district has been recovered.

Teton Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme announced during a school board meeting Monday that the district’s bank, Bank of Commerce, told him that “Comerica Bank has represented a return of approximately $484,000.”

That amount is part of $784,833.71 stolen from the district after its former business manager submitted an electronic payment to what he purportedly thought was a construction company under contract with the district. The FBI and local police have been investigating the major case of fraud, and the business manager who made the payment has since resigned from the district.

Woolstenhulme told Idaho Education News Tuesday that the district has yet to receive the $484,000. When it does, he said, the money will replenish an unexpected construction payment made in lieu of the stolen funds.

Woolstenhulme said it’s still unclear where the remaining amount of stolen money is located or how the recovered $484,000 wound up in a Dallas, Texas-based Comerica Incorporated account.

Woolstenhulme hopes to confirm that the recovered funds have been received by the district at the next scheduled board meeting on Jan. 14.

This is one of the largest cases of school district fraud in Idaho history. In 2015, Rob Greiner of the Horseshoe Bend School District was convicted of misusing public funds in the amount of $53,000, and Danielle Pearson, a school secretary in the Blackfoot School District, pleaded guilty to misusing $11,000 in public funds.

It’s not the first time Teton has been the target of fraud. In March 2017, the district paid nearly $20,000 to a fraudulent bank account. Those funds were recovered through ICRMP.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. Devin co-hosts "Beyond the Books" online news segments in conjunction with EastIdahoNews.com. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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