Former administrator charged for stealing more than $100K from school

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Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a former administrator of Lakeland's McKeel Academy for stealing over $100,000 from the school. 

Ginger Collins resigned from her role as Assistant Director of Academics at McKeel Academy on September 16 after she reportedly admitted to embezzling funds from the charter school. 

According to PCSO, Alan Black, Director of the Schools of McKeel Academy, and Julie Ehnle, the Assistant Director of Operations, contacted the sheriff's office that same day to report the embezzlement and theft of school funds by Collins.

Black told investigators that he confronted Collins about the theft and fraudulent accounting scheme that day, which led to her confession and resignation. 

Collins began working for the school in July 2015, and reportedly had access to five credit cards belonging to the academy. She supervised fund-raising activities and a transitional program budget.

The school's accounting department first became aware of suspicious transactions on Collins' accounts in early September 2016, when they noticed a Capital One card had been used to purchase a prom dress and fake eyelashes, Ehnle told investigators. 

The unapproved charges prompted additional auditing, during which the sheriff's office says "significant discrepancies" were documented. 

PCSO says the review of Collins' expenses revealed she had stolen more than $47,000 by lying about the cost of a staff trip. 

According to the arrest affidavit, it was also discovered that Collins had created three fictitious companies as well as fraudulent Paypal accounts that she used to steal school funds. 

Bank records show that the stolen funds were used to buy clothing, pay personal bills, purchase home furnishings, and make personal credit card payments. 

She reportedly altered invoices and created fake invoices to conceal where the money was really going.

According to the affidavit, Collins stole over $105,426.34 from the Schools of McKeel Academy. 

She is facing multiple charges, including grand theft of $100,000 or more, three counts of credit card fraud, three counts of money laundering, among others. 

Her bond was set at $39,000 in court this afternoon.