The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Hulbert School employee who has admitted to embezzling approximately $37,000 from the district.

Hulbert School District Treasurer Deborah Harvey told sheriff’s investigators Wednesday afternoon that over the past two years, she has been issuing checks to companies that do frequent business with the school, then manually entering her name as the recipient of the drafts.

The checks were recorded on the school’s computer system as being issued to the companies, but were actually deposited in Harvey’s account at the Bank of Cherokee County.

Harvey also said in her statement to the sheriff’s office that she issued two checks – totaling $6,241.66 – to herself, but that Superintendent Todd Kimrey had approved those checks.

Kimrey’s resignation was presented to the Hulbert School Board in April, and goes into effect at the end of this month.

Harvey said this morning that those two checks included her July 2005 payroll check and a raise she received at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year.

“I asked if I could have the raise in July in one check instead of stretched out over the year,” Harvey said. “[Kimrey] approved that, but the other ones I did on my own. I’m not denying anything.”

She also admitted to altering her own paychecks throughout the 2005-2006 school year, so some months her pay was more than her $3,120.83 salary, and some months less. Although her total annual salary was not changed, the amount she received each month ranged from $1,500 to $6,500.

Kimrey said this morning that he had on occasion approved checks to be written earlier than usual, but never for anything other than regular payroll amounts.

“I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that I never approved anything that was not a payroll check,” Kimrey said. “At no point do I ever remember authorizing a doubling of a payroll check and then a later reduction.”

According to Harvey’s statement to the sheriff’s office, she has a gambling problem, frequents local casinos three to four times a week, but never spends more than $750 a week.

Sheriff investigator Becky Thompson said the information from Harvey’s statement and the ensuing investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

Interim Hulbert Superintendent Wayne Ryals confirmed that Harvey has been the school’s treasurer for about four years, but declined to comment further, saying the issue is a personnel matter.

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