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Former Ketron cafeteria manager indicted for stealing

Staff reports • Sep 7, 2018 at 12:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Former Ketron Elementary School cafeteria manager Deborah Beckman was indicted Aug. 22 by a Sullivan County grand jury for stealing money from the cafeteria operations, the result of a Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury probe.

According to a Thursday news release from Comptroller Justin Wilson, the office began an investigation after school officials reported concerns about cafeteria operations. 

The probe found that in September of 2017, Beckman allegedly stole $758 donated to the cafeteria by a student’s family member to provide ice cream to the school’s kindergarten students. The comptroller claimed she falsified accounting records, prepared inaccurate deposit slips and signed initials of other cafeteria workers to conceal the theft. She and her staff were honored by the school system’s Pinnacle Award in June of 2017 for scoring a perfect 100 on a state health inspection.

The investigative report detailing the findings is available online at comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.

Investigators also uncovered six times when she allegedly submitted phony mileage reimbursement claims for trips to the bank on days no deposits were made. On another occasion, she allegedly submitted a duplicate travel claim. In both instances she received money to which she was not entitled. In addition, she admitted that she stole an unknown amount of cafeteria funds from daily deposits and used the cash to pay for groceries and other personal expenses, the release said.

The Sullivan County Department of Education terminated Beckman’s employment Dec. 4, 2017, the news release said. On Aug. 22 of this year, the grand jury indicted her on 10 counts of forgery of $1,000 or less, six counts of theft of $1,000 or less and six counts of destruction of and tampering with governmental records.

“It is very important the government officials adhere to the law requiring deposits to be made within three days,” Wilson said in the release. “It should be noted that school officials promptly reported this situation to our office and have indicated they have addressed any deficiencies that allowed it to occur.”

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