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Former Evansville IT coordinator confesses to theft

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GINA R. HEINE
November 5, 2009
— The former instructional technology coordinator for the Evansville School District has confessed to ordering items and reselling them on eBay at a district loss of $90,000 to $100,000, District Administrator Heidi Carvin said.

Anne Gath resigned in July when the theft was discovered, Carvin said. The case has been forwarded to the Rock County District Attorney’s office for review.


Carvin issued a statement to staff and the school board Wednesday afternoon. It reads, in part: “In the next few days, it is likely that our former Instructional Technology Coordinator, Anne Gath, will face various charges for theft from the district.”


Included in Carvin’s e-mail to the district is a statement from Gath, who offered an apology to staff and the community.


“I have tried to cooperate fully in the investigation in order to try to make amends for my actions,” Gath’s statement reads. “I am ashamed of my conduct.”


Gath said she has been receiving treatment and counseling since her departure for a gambling addiction.


“This is not offered as an excuse but only by way of explanation for my actions and my conduct. I hope to repay all losses as quickly as I can do so. I also hope that the staff and community can someday forgive me for what I have done,” her statement reads.


Over the last two school years, Gath ordered items, intercepted their delivery and resold them on the Internet auction site eBay, Carvin said. Until the few months prior to the theft discovery, the purchases were small or individual items “that did not stand out as being unusual for her to order,” Carvin said. Those included a few laptop computers, digital cameras and MP3 players, she said.


The theft came to light when administrators discovered three orders in a short period of time for many mini-laptops that the district does not use, Carvin said. Once they verified the laptops weren’t in the district, they asked Gath to produce them, she said.


“She said she couldn’t and basically confessed to what had been going on,” Carvin said.


The investigation has been ongoing since July. Police Chief Scott McElroy said he could not comment on the case yet, and a secretary for District Attorney David O’Leary said the case is under review.


Gath has cooperated and made a commitment to paying restitution, Carvin said.


The district has made changes to prevent a similar incident. The person who places an invoice and the person who checks in the items are now two different people, she said.


“We’re a small district, so it’s not uncommon for it to be done the way it (was). Obviously with this, we have to find someone else to do it,” she said.


Gath started in the district at the beginning of the 1996-97 school year as a middle school resource teacher. She moved to the IT coordinator position at the start of the 1999-2000 year.


After her resignation, the IT coordinator position was divided into two functions, and those duties were added to current staff.


Gath had moved up from a teacher and tried to learn all of the networking intricacies over time, but “it really has evolved beyond where someone without specialized training with network management could do that job,” Carvin said.


Paula Landers, director of instruction, went from a 10-month contract to a 12-month contract to take on the instructional part of Gath’s position. Larry Martin, who was a technology assistant, is now the technology coordinator and took on the network administrator duties.



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