CHARDON -- Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz confirmed that Shannon Mares, 37, of Middlefield, was indicted by the Geauga County Grand Jury in a two-count indictment that was filed Tuesday.
Mares is charged with tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree, and theft, a felony of the fifth degree.
The allegations in the indictment concern the embezzlement of school fees that occurred in 2012 and in the spring of 2013 at A.J. Jordak Elementary School in Middlefield Village.
Mares resigned as a school secretary May 2013 when an investigation was launched regarding the missing funds. In May 2013, school officials became aware that Mares may have mishandled some funds in her capacity as a secretary at A.J. Jordak Elementary School.
At that point in time, acting superintendent, Matt Galemmo immediately launched an investigation and ordered that an internal school audit take place.
Mares was also asked to submit a letter of resignation, which she did. The school's internal audit identified that some funds were unaccounted for.
The school then informed the Middlefield Police Department of their findings and requested an audit from State Auditor David Yost's office.
The state audit ultimately revealed that $3,429 in school funds were missing and the police investigation revealed that receipt books maintained by Mares were missing.
Following the filing of the indictment against Mares, Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz stated "I have to commend the school officials for uncovering this fraud early on. Unfortunately, so many times, this type of theft occurs over a much longer period of time and the losses are much more significant. The school was very diligent in identifying that there was a problem, seeking Ms. Mares' resignation immediately, and obtaining a state audit to account for all of the monies that Ms. Mares was handling."
The court will schedule an arraignment before Judge Forrest Burt.
The tampering with evidence charge is punishable by up to three years in prison and the theft charge is punishable by up to 12 months in prison.