A former Spring Hill College employee pleaded guilty last week in federal court to wire fraud and embezzlement from the college.
Court records show Tracie Lawrence, who served as the student accounts director, stole approximately $186,463.50 from the school’s vault and directed electronic transfers from the college’s bank account to her own personal bank account from about Jan. 13, 2010 until June 16, 2014.
In order to hide the theft of the aforementioned funds, Lawrence “falsely and fraudulently altered the accounting records of Spring Hill College in an attempt to continue the fraud and hiding her illegal activity,” a court document reads.
Additionally, the document revealed on Feb. 21 Lawrence “knowingly and fraudulently” caused an interstate wire to be transmitted, transferring $2,920 from Springhill College’s bank account to her personal account at Singing River Federal Credit Union for her own personal use.
Following Lawrence’s guilty plea, Spring Hill College released a statement saying the incident was isolated and put none of the college’s other funds at risk.
“An internal audit of accounts at Spring Hill College recently revealed some discrepancies in our accounts. We have determined that the irregularities are isolated and not ongoing,” Fred Salancy, Spring Hill College vice president of advancement said.
Salancy also said it was determined the school’s current security measures concerning the institution’s funds and accounting are entirely adequate.
“Our investigation and our cooperation with pertinent law enforcement authorities have led to the outcome of this case. It is important to note that, due to insurance provisions, no Spring Hill College funds are at risk,” he said.
According to court records filed Dec. 12, the maximum penalty the court could impose on Lawrence is 20 years imprisonment, a fine not exceeding $250,000, a term of supervised release of three years, which would follow any terms of imprisonment, a $100 mandatory special assessment and a court ordered restitution.
Further, if Lawrence violates the conditions of supervised release, she could be imprisoned for the entire term of the supervised release.