Saturday, October 05, 2002

Group rebuilding after theft

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        ROSS TWP. - A nonprofit organization that gives money to teachers and student organizations in Ross Local Schools is trying to rebuild its bank account, after its former treasurer was accused of stealing from the group.

        Connie Blevins, 49, of Okeana, was indicted by the Butler County grand jury this week on one count of felony theft. An arraignment is set for Oct. 14. If convicted, Ms. Blevins faces a prison sentence of six to 18 months.

        Detective Frank Smith of the Butler County Sheriff's Office said Ms. Blevins is accused of stealing about $17,000 from Ross Spirit, a 9-year-old organization. She had been its treasurer since 1994, said Bill Spade, the group's president.

        “We're raising money this year,” Mr. Spade said, “but it will take awhile to catch up.”

        Mr. Spade said he confronted Ms. Blevins about missing money last April when bills hadn't been paid and school officials said they had never received donations the group had approved. He then contacted the sheriff's office.

        Detective Smith said the investigation showed Ms. Blevins had control over the funds and the money was taken during the 2001-02 year.

        “We used it (money) for student incentives,” Mr. Spade said. “We helped fund anything that wasn't covered by the athletic boosters in all the schools.”

        Mr. Spade said the group has not found another treasurer. But from now on, he said, the treasurer will be required to present a copy of each bank statement when making monthly reports. Ms. Blevins had submitted only monthly reports, Mr. Spade said.


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