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Woman charged for stealing $127K from Camdenton school lunch program

ABC 17 first reported this week that a lunch lady at Camdenton High School had been caught for embezzling money.

On Thursday, we learned Cassandra Franklin of Macks Creek has been charged with a class B felony for stealing at least $25,000 from the food services department. However, the probable cause statement said Franklin had under-reported more than $127,000.

For the last 14 years, Cassandra Franklin has worked in the food services department for the Camdenton R-3 School District. The district is required to keep records back at least three years, however they’ve kept records all the way back to 2009.

“Maybe it did start out that she started doing this because of financial hardship but it went way beyond it went way past that,” said Nancy Steward, petition organizer.

Court documents said the 2009 to 2010 school year had about $27,000 underreported from the funds that Franklin managed.

There was also more than $25,000 from 2010 to 2011, over $30,000 from 2011 to 2012, more than $18,000 from 2012 10 2013, more than $22,000 from 2013 to 2014, and at least $3,000 so far this school year.

“We investigated from the start. We went back 6 years and we were able to confirm $127,000,” said Camdenton Police Chief Laura Wright.

Chief Wright said Officer Chris Williams investigated the case. Franklin was the head cashier for taking students lunch money at the high school, and Franklin had a system where she would take the “student pre-payment envelopes” for lunch money. Franklin would stack them up at the end of her shift and face all the envelopes the same direction as a way to keep track of the money.

“Anytime there is a theft of any nature the person doing it is always going to look for ways to conceal it, we all know that and in this case the person found a weakness in the checks and balance system,” said Chief Wright.

Steward said her son had money taken from him by Franklin. Even though she is upset about what happened, she said what she wants is justice by getting the district audited, which will cost them anywhere from $65,000 to $100,000 dollars.

“The 1600 hundred signatures have to be Camden County registered voters or within the school district,” said Steward.

She expects it will take about a month to get all the signatures she needs, but said people have been already contacting her to sign it.

“A lot of people have been negatively impacted because of this and so I think you can look at this as a positive thing, this could show us where we need to tighten things up, show some accountability that maybe we didn’t have because we never thought about needing accountability,” said Steward.

If Franklin is found guilty she’ll face anywhere from 5 to 15 years in prison. As of right now no arrests have been made.

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