Former School Administrator Accused of Stealing $105K

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 17:58:28-05

Polk County Deputies arrested a former administrator for McKeel Charter Schools in Lakeland for allegedly embezzling about $105 thousand from her former employer.

Sheriff Grady Judd says 45-year-old Ginger Collins embezzled the money from November 2015 until September of 2016.

According to Sheriff Grady Judd, other staff members became suspicious when they saw a purchase on school credit cards for fake eyelashes and a prom dress. Judd says Collins admitted to some of the fraud during a conversation with her boss.

Collins had access to five school credit cards. At one point, she was in charge of a staff trip to Finland with a budget of about $150,000. The total cost ended up being about $95,000. Judd says she took about $50,000 for herself.

"She diverted funds via the credit cards to her personal accounts," Judd said.

Judd says Collins was creative. She made up three fake businesses and a couple of websites to cover her tracks.

"One of them that she opened was Elite Travel Agency," Judd explained.

Judd also says Collins purchased several things for herself using the schools funds including furniture, gift cards, multiple vacations, an item call a Facia Blaster and a hat called a Knit Wit.

We contacted the school and was told someone would email us a statement. ABC Action News never received that email.

Collins also worked in Polk County Schools from 2008-2015. She was the principal at Kathleen High School for several years. Most recently she was the Principal at Kathleen Middle School.

An audit was done at Kathleen Middle when she left. 14 iPad minis and a laptop were missing. The school district reported those findings to the sheriff's office. It's not clear if she's being implicated in the missing items.

Polk County Schools say they're cooperating with the sheriff's office during their investigation.