Local woman charged with embezzling from charter school - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

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Local woman charged with embezzling from charter school

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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 12:00 am

Chandler police detectives have arrested an Ahwatukee Foothills woman for allegedly embezzling at least $20,000 from the charter school she worked at, and they are looking for her husband as an accomplice.

Laurie Bassett, 51, was booked into jail Tuesday on 25 counts of forgery, plus one count each of theft and fraudulent schemes after Chandler detectives served a search warrant at her home in the 4300 block of East Pipa Street in Ahwatukee Foothills, police said.

Chandler police Detective David Ramier said the suspect worked as the account manager at Dobson Academy School at 2207 N. Dobson Road for three years and that for more than a year has been making false invoices for supplies.

Ramier said she would write the fake invoice, then issue a check to herself or her husband. When the canceled check was returned, she would cover up her or her husband’s name and put the name of the fake company from the invoice, then make a photo copy for the school’s records, police said.

“She did this to the tune of $20,000, at least, at this point,” said Ramier, a spokesman for Chandler police.

Ramier said that bogus checks were written starting Dec. 11, 2008, with the last check written Jan. 4.

It was an audit of the charter school that revealed a 300 percent increase in school supplies, which tipped off officials that something was wrong, launching the police investigation.

The charter school has 555 students from kindergarten through eighth grade and received more than $3 million a year this year in state funding.

According to Ramier, James A Bassett, 51, the suspect's husband, also is wanted for forgery.

“He’s known to frequent the Ahwatukee area, as well as Chandler,” Ramier said.

James Bassett drives a 1985 Chevrolet Van with Arizona license plate AEB-9980, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Chandler police at (480) 782-4130.

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