Minneapolis principal charged with fraudulent school credit card use

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The former principal of Whittier International School in Minneapolis was charged with three counts of theft by swindle for using a school district credit card for personal expenditures, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Anne DePerry, 55, of Edina, is expected to make her first court appearance Thursday. A Minneapolis School District audit determined that DePerry used her district credit card for more than $11,000 worth of purchases for her personal use and another $5,000 that was unaccounted for or suspicious, according to the criminal complaint.

“We expect, and the citizens of Hennepin County expect, that people who have access to tax dollars will spend them appropriately and for public purposes,” Freeman said. “It is disheartening when those public officials view public money as their private slush fund.”

According to the criminal complaint, a random audit by the school district in October 2015 turned up a charge on the school district credit card issued to DePerry at a hat store overseas. The auditor then looked at six weeks of charges by DePerry and found others that were not for school-related expenses. When the auditor contacted DePerry, she said she must have accidentally used the wrong card and offered to write a check for the $1,700 in charges turned up over that six week period.

Instead, the auditor went back and looked at all the times DePerry had used the charge card since it was issued to her. The complete audit found that from December 2013 through September 2015, DePerry made $11,830 in charges that were not school related and $5,440 that were suspicious but could not be completely ruled out as school related, the complaint states.

The auditor also told the Minneapolis Police investigator that it was unlikely DePerry could have charged the items by mistake to the school district credit card. Any time she used the card, she would have to log into the school district’s system, upload the receipts and add a correct budget code and then click on the approve button. At any of those steps, she would have known she had charged an improper item, according to the complaint.

DePerry resigned her position with the school district in November 2015.

 

Criminal Complaint (PDF)