Former Sunnyslope High School Attendance Secretary Indicted For Theft

The Office of the Auditor General conducted an investigation which resulted in the indictment of Eunice Lopez, former attendance secretary at Sunnyslope High School. Ms. Lopez was charged with five felony counts related to theft, misuse of public money, and fraudulent schemes.

According to the Office of the Auditor General, from May 2015 through July 2017, Lopez may have misappropriated $3,455 of Sunnyslope student parking permit payments and used them for her own personal purposes.

The Office of the Auditor General submitted its report to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which presented evidence to the Arizona State Grand Jury on August 27, 2018.

From the Office of the Auditor General:

Glendale Union High School District is the second largest high school district in Arizona and serves the communities of Phoenix and Glendale. For fiscal year 2017, the District operated nine high schools with approximately 15,500 students and $157,084,906 in revenue. Eunice Lopez began working for the District’s Sunnyslope High School in 2005 as an instructional aide and in 2015 became the attendance secretary. In that capacity, she was responsible for both collecting student parking permit payments and issuing the parking permit decals, as well as managing student registration, attendance, and disciplinary records.

In August 2017, Sunnyslope High School bookstore employees conducted an analysis after discovering monies paid
for student parking permits were missing and promptly reported their findings to school administration. An administrator interviewed Ms. Lopez, and she admitted she had taken the monies. She also signed a document acknowledging the admission statements she made to the administrator. On August 31, 2017, Ms. Lopez submitted her resignation, effective immediately.

From May 2015 through July 2017, Ms. Lopez received 151 cash payments totaling $3,455 for student parking permits that she failed to remit to the bookstore and failed to include on cash collection reports she prepared. After receiving these cash payments, Ms. Lopez issued the parking permit decal to the students but kept the monies for herself. Because Ms. Lopez was solely responsible for issuing parking permit decals and recording the student and associated parking permit number on a spreadsheet she controlled, she was able to keep cash payments and avoid detection. Ms. Lopez was able to further conceal her scheme by either failing to issue a receipt from the receipt log or issuing a receipt but failing to remit the receipt log to the bookstore. Additionally, she omitted these cash payments from the cash collection reports she submitted to the bookstore, making it appear as if she were remitting all the monies she collected for parking permits when in fact she was underreporting her collections.

As mentioned earlier, Ms. Lopez admitted to an administrator that she had taken the monies and signed a statement
indicating such. She also admitted to Auditor General staff that she had used the monies for her own personal bills, acknowledged what she did was wrong, and claimed she wanted to pay the money back. As of August 17, 2018, no
repayment had been made.