The former treasurer for the Westside School District in Johnson County was ordered Thursday to pay nearly $180,000 that she admitted stealing from the district over four years, Circuit Court records said.
Circuit Judge William Pearson sentenced Brandi Freeman, 34, of Coal Hill to 24 months in prison, with the imposition suspended on an additional 18-year sentence, after she pleaded guilty last month to one felony charge of theft. She was charged initially last August with five counts of felony theft.
Pearson also fined Freeman $1,500 and ordered her to pay court costs and $179,391 restitution to the school district or to the district's bonding company.
The Westside School District includes Hartman and Coal Hill in western Johnson County.
Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons said Thursday that he was grateful for the diligence of the administrators, teachers and school organization sponsors in providing the financial records. Without them, Gibbons said, it would have made Freeman's prosecution difficult if not impossible.
An Arkansas State Police probable cause affidavit said Freeman, as district treasurer, received cash and checks from different school clubs and class sponsors from May 1, 2013, to March 21, 2017. She altered the deposit forms so she could deposit only the checks into the district's bank accounts and keep the cash, totaling $110,422 for herself.
Also during the 2013-2017 period, the affidavit said, Freeman wrote checks to herself on the district's bank accounts, issued a district check to a fictitious vendor, Freeman Farms, that she deposited into her personal account, and used district credit cards and school district checks to pay for personal purchases from multiple stores.
State Desk on 08/10/2018
Print Headline: Ex-school official ordered to repay $179,391