Former Brevard Public School Bookkeeper arrested
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Economic Crimes Task Force has culminated an investigation into the allegations of embezzlement of funds with the arrest of a former Brevard Public Schools Bookkeeper. Agents arrested 50-year-old Patricia Marie Coleman of West Melbourne.
These are the charges on the arrest warrant:
- Aggravated White Collar Crime
- Scheme to Defraud over $50,000.00
- Money Laundering
- Depositing a check with the intent to Defraud (89 counts)
- Forgery (6 counts)
- Uttering a Forged Check (53 counts)
- Criminal Use of Personal ID Info over $5,000
- Grand Theft over $20,000.00
- Grand Theft over $300.00 (19 counts).
The initial investigation started in August of 2016. The newly appointed treasurer of the All Florida Junior Rodeo Association (AFJRA) contacted the Brevard County Public School District. AFJRA expressed their concerns. They said she had embezzled monies from the Association while serving as the former treasurer. There expressed concerns that Coleman might be co-mingling funds between AFJRA and accounts from the Cape Coast Conference and Eau Gallie High School.
As a result, BPS conducted an audit of both the Cape Coast Conference account and the Eau Gallie High School general/internal accounts. The audit resulted in irregularities and concerning transactions. Then, BPS contacted the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force. At this time a criminal investigation was initiated.
The investigation subsequently revealed that over a two-year period covering the 2014-2015 through 2016-2017 school years, Coleman embezzled $96,592.58 from Eau Gallie High School and $22,825.68 from the Cape Coast Conference. Further investigation also determined that Coleman had embezzled over $50,000.00 while acting as treasurer for two Rodeo associations.
The Task Force discovered that Coleman used various methods to avoid detection. She commingled funds between all four accounts and diverting checks received from the intended accounts to her own personal accounts. Many of the accounts required two signatures, however, Coleman bypassed this procedure in many cases by using a stamp for the second signature or in some instances, by forging the signature of the co-signer. Coleman diverted cash received from home athletic contests and fundraising efforts by making smaller deposits into multiple accounts. She also falsified receipts in order to issue checks, which she deposited in her personal accounts.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who may have additional information about this Economic Crime to please contact the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit at 321-633-8410 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). All calls to CRIMELINE are confidential and callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.