The former bookkeeper at Whitwell High School in Marion County, just outside of Chattanooga, is facing theft and vandalism charges for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the school.
According to state officials, Lois Vandergriff pocketed at least $35,000 in cash collected for school activities and used several methods to conceal the theft including exchanging checks collected from school activities to replace some of the missing cash and providing false and inconsistent information to school staff, administrators and auditors.
She also issued school checks to herself totaling almost $6,000, with documentation of about half of that amount.
Documented expenses included a number of questionable items such as dog food, dog treats, cigarettes and soft drinks. Officials could not determine if the money was actually used for the school’s needs.
Vandergriff was indicted on count of theft over $10,000 and one count of vandalism.
Whitwell High School officials said they have made changes that address the deficiencies in their money-handling and recordkeeping practices as highlighted by investigators.