Insurance company to cover stolen funds in Teton

DRIGGS — The Teton School District’s insurance company will cover the remaining amount of public funds the district lost to an email scam last year.

Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) will pay Teton $300,051.05 for unrecovered funds stemming from a $784,000 fraud incident in December, the district announced Wednesday.

ICRMP will also cover other district expenses, including a cybersecurity investigation. It’s still unclear how much residual costs tied to the crime will add up to, Teton Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme told Idaho Education News Wednesday.

ICRMP will charge Teton a $500 deductible for the payment.

In January, the district recovered $484,332.66 of $784,833.71 that was stolen after former business manager, Carl Church, 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 incident. Local police said Church is not a suspect. He has since resigned from the district.

Cascade School District Business Manager Blake Snedaker will replace Church, Teton announced Wednesday.

It’s unknown at this point if the district will see a rate increase as a result of the insurance claim, Jeanette Boner of Teton Valley News reports.

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.

Teton is headquartered in Driggs, some 60 miles northeast of Idaho Falls.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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