ANDERSON, Ind. – A judge ordered a former Anderson Community School Corporation bookkeeper who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school lunch fund to pay more than $2.9 million in restitution.
In February, Carla Burke was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and falsifying tax documents. Federal prosecutors said she issued more than 300 fraudulent checks from the ACSC food service to herself and cashed them into her personal bank account.
From January 2014 through June 2019, Burke stole $976,773.29 from the school corporation. The money should’ve gone to food vendors; Burke used it to gamble and make personal expenditures.
At the time of her sentencing, a federal judge ordered her to pay back the money plus about $141,000 owed to the IRS. The school district discovered the scheme during an audit from the State Board of Accounts.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit seeking additional damages under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act (CRVA), including three times the amount of restitution plus court and attorney costs.
Madison County Circuit Judge Andrew Hopper entered a default judgment in the CVRA case, ordering Burke to pay $2,946,871.84 plus interest minus any applicable payments Burke has already made. The state recovered $125,000 through insurance proceeds, the court noted.
“In her capacity as the Bookkeeper of the Department, Burke committed malfeasance by misappropriating public funds as described in the Audit Report, which is not disputed by Burke in this matter, sufficiently pled in the Complaint, and materially supported and consistent with charges she pled guilty to in the Criminal Matter,” Hopper wrote in his judgment.
Burke served as the food service bookkeeper from 2007 through her retirement in 2019.