KPD 'knee-deep' in Band Booster embezzlement probe of Sullivan North teacher; Bristol's forgery case called 'clear-cut'

Rain Smith • Apr 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Kingsport Det. Greg Lane says he's "knee-deep" in the case of a former deputy and criminal justice teacher accused of embezzling funds from a local school.

While he declined to discuss details of the investigation, Lane said Greg White, 34,of Blountville, has a court date set for June 19. Arrested on Sullivan North school grounds March 13, White is charged by Kingsport Police with two counts of forgery and one count of theft over $500.

Police claim he embezzled money from the Sullivan North Band Booster fund, and passed two checks from the account for cash at New People's Bank on John B. Dennis Highway.

Along with teaching and working with the band, White, a former Sullivan County deputy, served as adviser for Sullivan North's Law Enforcement Explorer Post 925. The program trains students in law enforcement skills -- from firearms to crime scene investigation. North's post was recently honored at Gatlinburg's Winterfest 2007.

Besides the Kingsport charges, Bristol, Va., police allege White forged a $4,700 check from Sullivan North's Band Booster account within their jurisdiction. Det. Mike Arthur said the check was passed at Citizen's Bank on Bonham Road.

"Ours is not as in-depth as the (Kingsport) embezzlement case might be," Arthur said. "Ours is pretty clear cut -- one check and one individual in our jurisdiction."

As to whether charges will be brought against other individuals in Kingsport's case, Det. Lane said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Known as "G-Dub" by some students, news of White's arrest brought more than 35 reader comments to TimesNews.net. Most were from shocked students and parents, and characterized White as a good teacher and man.

"I am a Sergeant in the Sullivan North Explorer program," writes a junior from Sullivan North. "Not only is Greg White an excellent teacher, but he is a friend and role model to all of his students and explorers.....He has done more to keep me on the right path than anyone else I have ever known. "

"Greg White has done everything from coming to my band concerts to helping me with speeding tickets," writes another student. "Greg has not just been a teacher to me but also a big brother. I could probably speak for everyone at Sullivan North that Greg White doesn't deserve any of this

Meanwhile, others posted comments alleging the band has always had problems with funds, and wondered how it played into he investigation. Det. Lane said he was not familiar with any past problems or discrepancies within the Sullivan North band boosters.

"I think someone needs to look into the booster situation within the band at Sullivan North before accusing Mr. White of this," posted the parent of a student. "There has been a problem within this booster club for the past 3 years and several band directors have left because of the situation....I think the parents and other people who are attached to this band need to finally stand up and say something about this situation."

"We hope that investigators will explore all avenues concerning the Band-Booster's controversies already existent to ensure that it is in fact Mr. White, and not someone else," writes a current student.

"(A readers comment) mentioned the fact that the band boosters has a lot of problems with their financial matters," adds a former student and band member.

"The band boosters do wonderful things to help our band, but I know that many people who have came along in the past, maybe 8 years or so, have left because they were not getting paid. They have had many disputes with Color Guard and Winter Guard instructors over this matter."

Sullivan County Board of Education Attorney Pat Hull originally said White was suspended with pay. While still under suspension, a call to Hull's office concerning White's current pay status was not returned.

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