A state audit alleges that some $275,000 was misspent by the former treasurer of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation.
The theft dates back to 2010 and was discovered earlier this year.
The former treasurer committed suicide on January 7th, 2013: On the very day she was confronted by police.
Officers first though 50 year old Sherri Adamson of Rochester was the ‘victim’ of a crime.
In December of 2012 Adamson went on a personal shopping trip at the Wal-Mart in Plymouth.
When Adamson loaded her car she left her purse in the shopping cart in the parking lot.
The purse was then picked up and kept by an opportunist—who was eventually picked up by police.
With the purse now at the police station, investigators had hard evidence of a much more serious crime land in their lap.
Inside, they found four checks that Adamson had written to herself from the school account totaling $1,250.
They also found that the $300 Adamson had spent at Wal-Mart that day was covered by the school corporation credit card.
Only now that state auditors have combed through the school corporation books is the entire extent of the damage known.
“And for the three years that we audited it appears that about $244,140 dollars in credit card charges were used by her,” said Ryan Preston with the Indiana State Board of Accounts.
The audit also found $34,000 worth of school corporation checks had gone directly to Adamson or to her credit card company.
“Now we are just a reporting agency, so what we do is we forward the report to the Indiana Attorney General and at that time they make the determination of whether or not they can file a civil case at this point against the estate of Miss Adamson,” said Ryan Preston.
In a written response to the audit, the school corporation points out that the theft came largely during a period of “transition:” During a time after the retirement of the previous deputy treasurer and before a replacement was hired—Adamson performed the duties of both.
The written statement indicates that the Tippecanoe Valley School System has public official bonds which will provide full restitution of the public funds misused by Adamson.
The police report indicates that officers spoke to Sherri Adamson’s husband about the incident. Terry Adamson “advised that a few years ago Sherri had left and went to Branson, Missouri with her mother and when she left she left him a note and a stack of credit card bills. The bills totaled approximately $250,000. While she was on vacation he went to the bank and mortgaged his farm to pay off the credit card bills. Ever since then their accounts have been separate. Terry pays the mortgage and household bills. Sherri pays for the Dish TV, cellphones, and groceries.”
The police report also talks about the day officers confronted Sherri Adamson at the school corporation business office. “Mrs. Adamson stated that it was all a mistake and she had nothing further to say about it.”
Adamson was then fired and told she would have to go to the police station for a formal interview.
According to the report, Adamson walked toward the restroom, but continued out the front door.
Adamson got into her car and almost struck an officer while leaving the parking lot.
Adamson was later found near her home in Rochester. She committed suicide with a shot gun.