USJ Employee Accused of Stealing Funds

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NORTH JACKSON, Tenn. — A University School of Jackson employee is currently being investigated for stealing funds. The school sent a letter to parents on Thursday to inform them of the investigation. USJ Headmaster Stuart Hirstein would not release the name of the employee fired and would not say exactly how much money was reportedly stolen. “I’m sure all of this will come out at some point again it’s not something I can comment at this time,” said Hirstein. According to USJ, it was only one employee involved. Officials said that Employee was immediately terminated once the private school was notified of the theft by federal officials, Wednesday. “It’s the first time of course I’ve come across this in my professional career,” said Hirstein. “Of course a situation like this can be unsettling but life goes on we are going to rally together as a community and we’re looking ahead.” According to the letter from the school, the theft “has not caused any instability in the school’s financial picture. The school maintains a healthy financial status and is always within budget.” The letter also assured USJ families that their personal information had not been compromised during the theft. “Certainly we are in positions where people do trust us and we take that very seriously and you know we never want loose that,” said Hirstein. The school says it will continue to cooperate in the investigation. Below is the full text of the letter that was sent out to parents: Dear USJ Family, This letter is to make you aware of a situation which came to light on March 26. After a discussion with law enforcement officials, the USJ administration learned that a misappropriation of school funds had occurred. The investigation indicated that a single school employee was involved. The employee was immediately terminated and the Board notified. USJ has fully cooperated with law enforcement officials who are investigating this matter, including officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. Because of the ongoing legal proceeding, it would not be appropriate for school representatives to comment on particular details of this situation. However, there are some general statements which can be made and which may answer some questions you have. USJ utilizes many financial controls in an attempt to prevent a situation such as this. These controls include, but are not limited to, the following: the administration regularly reviews internally prepared financial reports; the school hires independent auditors from a Nashville accounting firm to perform an annual audit; representatives of this firm personally appear and make an annual report to the Board’s Finance Committee, accompanied by a written report; the Finance Committee and the full Board individually review monthly financial statements of the school. While no amount of theft is tolerable, the theft in this circumstance has not caused any instability in the school’s financial picture. The school maintains a healthy financial status and is always within budget. Within the last five years, the school has undergone two major refinancing efforts which have greatly improved the school’s immediate cash position and long term financial stability. Both of these efforts caused USJ to submit to vigorous review by multiple financial institutions, all of which resulted in very positive findings. Although we cannot comment on particular details presently, there is no evidence based upon the known circumstances that this theft involved any compromise of the private information of USJ families. Immediate steps have been taken to maintain the integrity of that information, as well as other safeguards to ensure this situation cannot be repeated, the details of which understandably cannot be stated in this message. USJ has already made an insurance claim to address loss associated with this theft. In addition, the school is actively investigating all other legal remedies available to provide restitution and/or compensation, as well as further corrective measures for consideration and implementation as appropriate. The school will be taking steps to ensure that the duties of the former employee will be handled without any interruption of necessary functions. The school will additionally be undertaking additional reviews utilizing outside professionals in order to ensure that the scope of this crime is fully understood. We know that this event is unsettling for our entire community. We have been the victim of a crime. The families of our students make a financial investment in our school, often at great sacrifice. Your commitment to the school is something which the administration and the Board appreciate and never take for granted. We also know it is especially unsettling for our employees. USJ is blessed to have many wonderful employees who provide a caring and supportive environment for our children. It is a testament to their love of the school and your children that many have spent decades in service here. USJ will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in every way possible. Inasmuch as there is an ongoing legal proceeding, it would not be appropriate for USJ to comment further at this time.

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