, Muskogee, OK

Local News

November 27, 2012

Ex-teacher waives hearing

Arraignment set Dec. 17 on embezzlement charges

— By Dylan Goforth

Phoenix Staff Writer

A former Wagoner High School teacher charged with embezzlement waived her preliminary hearing Tuesday in Wagoner County District Court.

“We expect she’ll take a plea agreement, but we’re working out rules and conditions,” assistant Wagoner County District Attorney Stephanie Milburn said.

Susan Elizabeth Spaulding, 38, was charged Sept. 13 with embezzling almost $143,000 between 2007-2011.

Spaulding pleaded not guilty the day after being arrested. She’s scheduled for a District Court Arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 17.

Spaulding was a “career tech” teacher at Wagoner High School when she resigned in 2011. Court documents state she embezzled $142,983.60 by creating fictitious invoices and submitting them for reimbursement.

The affidavit states a Wagoner Police Department detective obtained invoices from Wagoner Public Schools showing “Beth” had claimed to purchase items for her classroom with cash, and then requested the school reimburse her.

The school system requested an audit of Spaulding’s classroom in order to look for some of the items for which she’d been reimbursed, but many of those items could not be found.

The school’s auditor said he searched a school-issued computer in Spaulding’s classroom and discovered invoices had been created on it.

Spaulding was suspended after the audit discovered she’d been reimbursed more than $140,000. The affidavit stated an attorney contacted WPS Superintendent Monte Thompson received an offer from a lawyer after Spaulding was suspended stating Spaulding would like to pay the money back. Thompson declined that offer, according to the affidavit.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth

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