School employee indicted

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Bookkeeper accused of not depositing money in proper account

By Molly Haines

An Owen County Primary School bookkeeper has been fired after allegedly taking money that was to be deposited in the bank.

Jennifer Bishop, 35, has been charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition of property with a value of $500 or more.

Bishop was indicted March 9 by the Owen County grand jury. According to the indictment, she took more than $500 from the Owen County school district.

Kentucky State Police Detective Steve Goodale said the charges were brought after a routine audit.

“She was accused of taking money from the school,” Goodale said. “She was basically pocketing an undisclosed amount of money over a two-month period, from Oct. 1, 2009, to Dec. 15, 2009, approximately. She wasn’t depositing money like she was supposed to.”

Owen County School Board Superintendent Mark Cleveland said the district was performing routine audits when they found some irregularities within the primary school.

“Our auditors had said that we needed to do spot-checks more often,” Cleveland said. “Some things were found that didn’t quite add up, so we finally quizzed her (Bishop) about it and didn’t get the information we wanted. We finally just flat said, talk or we’re going to turn this over and we still weren’t getting the answers we wanted.”

Cleveland said all of the funds were supposed to be put into a primary school-activity fund.

“The purpose of any activity fund at any level is intended to be spent on students in one form or the other,” Cleveland said.

Bishop pleaded not guilty to the charge, and is due back in court March 23.