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School District Employee Accused of Stealing From Students

Money Stolen From Federal Funds for Low Income Students

Friday, Apr 1, 2011  |  Updated 12:51 PM EDT
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School District Employee Accused of Stealing From Students

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A Charles County, Md., Public School System employee was charged with stealing money from a program for low-income students.

Rhayda Barnes-Thomas, 40, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a federal program known as Title I. Barnes-Thomas was hired to oversee the purchases of technology equipment for use in classrooms. Instead, the school employee allegedly bought 200 items including a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii games, Sony PlayStation 3 consoles, Apple products (including iPods, iPads and Macbook computers) and televisions for her family.

According to court documents, school officials began investigating in October 2010 when several Apple laptop computers, purchased with Title I funds, disappeared. Barnes-Thomas was allegedly questioned by denied any involvement.

The Accokeek resident is now charged with theft and making false statements. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 15 years in jail for both charges

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