by Max Brantley
The Little Rock police have reported the arrest of a former Little Rock School District employee for theft of almost $10,000 from funds intended for homeless students.
Linda Jones, 51, of 5 Dee Court, was charged with theft of property. The police said:
The Suspect, Linda Jones worked for the Little Rock School District for eighteen (18) years before her retirement in July 2011. For the last six (6) years, prior to her retirement, the Suspect had been handling the bookkeeping for the Homeless Education Program for the School District. During this time she was issued a credit card to be used on behalf of the homeless families in the program, and had permission to purchase general office supplies, groceries and clothing for students not to exceed $25.00 to $30.00 per student. An audit done by the School District revealed that there were a lot of purchases made with the Suspect’s [issued] credit card that were not allowed. Target was able to provide paperwork and receipts that showed where the Suspect would make a purchase with the School District’s credit card and then ask for a gift receipt. She would then later turn in the original receipt to the School District, take the gift receipt and merchandise and return them back to Target where she would be issued store credit. From January 2008 to December 2010 Jones made at least seventy-two (72) fraudulent transactions for personal items totaling $9,646.59, and on December 13th, 2011 Detectives obtained a Theft of Property Warrant for the Suspect.
Saturday, I received an e-mail from someone identifying herself as the Linda Jones named in this case. She says she's wrongly accused and says the district has covered up other improper spending by other district employees. Part of her note:
With reference to your posting about me in the ArkansasTimes.com, no one seemed to get my input on the matter. I have been tried and convicted by the media. Ruined publicly and disgraced. My former supervisor made the rules for the LRSD program she supervises. I was never told to only purchase $25-$30 per family. That is a lie. Something she made up. And I never asked Target or anyone else for a gift receipt. But no one cares about that. All of this on the word of someone who allegedly buys for needy families and students, but is that factual? Who knows? Certainly not the LRSD. It's her rules and her rules alone. But maybe that is how it is supposed to be. After all, she is the supervisor.
I will have my day and it may be proven all of this was a mistake, but it is too late because the damage has already been done.