A woman who worked in the human resources department of the Beaufort, South
Carolina school system has been arrested, along with a friend, on accusations
that they created a fictitious teacher who was paid a salary and even received
a signing bonus, the Carolina Morning News reports.
Charged with embezzlement of public funds and criminal conspiracy is Tonya
Smith-Grant, 34, who worked for the school district for two and a half years,
processing new employee paperwork. She was also in charge of new teacher pay
levels, basing their salaries on their years of experience.
Facing the same charges is her friend, Robin Green, 37. Although she shares
the same name as the "fictitious teacher" and filled out the teacher
application, Green never worked for the school district, said Beaufort Police
Department investigator Jeff Vortisch. Rather, the two women fabricated details
of the fake teacher's life, including college history and references, according
to police and school officials.
"There is not a teacher," said school district Spokesman John Williams.
"It was a make-believe employee who was being paid real money through direct
The fictitious Robin Green was hired Aug. 8 and supposedly taught at a county
middle school, according to the Morning News. But when school officials saw
pay stubs, they alerted the school district, saying there was no such teacher
working there, Vortisch said.
Williams said the school district became suspicious after two pay periods because
of "checks and balances" between the human resources and payroll departments.
"We notified law enforcement, and the Beaufort Police Department began
an investigation. That limited our losses to about $5,000, which we're now seeking
repayment of." That includes a $500 signing bonus for the fictitious teacher.
Carolina Morning News