Former Morris School Treasurer Pleads Guilty To Fraud

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — A Otsego County woman is pleading guilty to stealing more than $34,000 from her former employer, the Morris Central School District.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and acting United States Attorney Antoinette Bacon announced that Kristina Hand, 47, of Morris, pleaded guilty to two counts of federal program theft on Wednesday.

“Ms. Hand abused her position to fund her lifestyle at the expense of her community,” DiNapoli said.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Hand served as the treasurer for the school district, in Otsego County, from 2014 through February 2020. Upon discovering evidence of theft, the school district terminated her employment.

Hand admitted she stole around $24,000 by depositing checks payable to the school district into bank accounts she controlled. She also stole at least $10,000 more by using the school district’s Amazon account and credit cards to purchase items for her personal use.

The school district annually received more than $10,000 in federal funding.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the New York State Police and the Office of the New York State Comptroller, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.

Hand’s sentencing is scheduled for May 21, 2021. She faces up to 10 years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

Hand agreed to pay $34,000 in restitution.

New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555.