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Former Westside School District Treasurer Arrested For Embezzlement

HARTMAN (KFSM) – The former treasurer for the Johnson County Westside School District was arrested on theft charges in August for embezzling thousands of district funds over a four-year period, according to an arrest affidavit.

Brandi Freeman, 33, served as treasurer from January 2008 up until her resignation in March 2017, according to the affidavit.

In all, Freeman took unauthorized control of $178,391 which was the property of the school district. She faces five counts of felony theft, according to the affidavit.

Freeman’s responsibilities as treasurer included managing cash funds and depositing those funds into bank accounts held by the district; issuing checks for approved expenses for the district; and making purchases for the district using credit cards issued by Arvest Bank and Walmart, the affidavit reads.

The money was stolen between 2013 and 2017, according to the affidavit.

From May 1, 2013 to March 21, 2017, Freeman received cash and checks from different clubs and class sponsors. Instead of depositing it appropriately, Freeman altered the deposit forms to only reflect the checks and took the cash for herself. This amounted to a total of $110,422, the affidavit states.

During the same time period, Freeman also — without authorization — wrote six checks to herself totaling $6,132, according to the affidavit. In 2016, Freeman wrote a check drawn on the district in the amount of $3,000 to a fake vendor, Freeman Farms, which was then deposited into her personal account.

During 2015 and 2016, Freeman used the aforementioned Arvest Bank credit card to make personal purchases in the amount of $12,809, the affidavit states. District funds were used to pay the charges.

During 2013 through March 2017, Freeman used the Walmart credit card to make personal purchases in the amount of $14,817, according to the affidavit. District funds were also used to pay the charges.

During the same four year period, Freeman incurred debt to the following vendors as a result of her personal purchases: Amazon, Kohl’s, Overstock, Sam’s Club, Sears, Staples and Walmart.

To pay these debts, Freeman issued 15 checks drawn on the district’s accounts naming those vendors as payees. The unauthorized payments totaled $32,211, according to the affidavit.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police is handling the investigation.