Middletown Transcript
  • Former Appo teacher's union treasurer charged with stealing $46K

  • A former Middletown High School math teacher has been formally charged with stealing more than $45,000 from the local teachers' union during her four-year tenure as its treasurer.
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  • A former Middletown High School math teacher has been formally charged with stealing more than $45,000 from the local teachers' union during her four-year tenure as its treasurer.
    Carol R. Morris turned herself in to police Thursday to face multiple criminal charges, including theft, forgery, unlawful use of a credit card and falsifying business records, according to Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack.
    She later was released on an $8,000 unsecured bond.
    The 63-year-old retired teacher declined to comment when contacted at her Townsend-area home Friday afternoon.
    Morris is accused of stealing a total of $45,999.59 while serving as treasurer for the Appoquinimink Education Association (AEA) from September 2009 to June 2013.
    During that time, she forged the required co-signature of then-union president David Wright in order to write multiple checks to herself and others, with most of the ill-gotten gains going to cover her personal debts, Shavack said.
    She also allegedly used a bank card to make multiple cash withdraws.
    After eventually wiping out the union bank account, Morris allegedly attempted to cover her tracks by providing union leaders with falsified bank statements that showed a positive balance in the account.
    "We had no idea this was happening and we were absolutely shocked when we found out," said current AEA President Vickie Caprinolo. "Definitely, the entire leadership saw this as a betrayal and we were all very disappointed … so we're pleased justice is being served in this case."
    The Transcript first reported on Morris' alleged role in the thefts in August after Wright sent an email to the union's 670 members announcing that Morris had been suspended two months earlier, following the discovery of financial irregularities in the union's bank account.
    When that announcement was made, Morris had officially retired from a 30-year teaching career in the Appoquinimink School District and left her position with the union.
    Wright, who left an English teaching position at Middletown High School in November to take a job as the communication director of the Delaware State Education Association, said the missing funds first came to his attention June 11 when the AEA's check card was declined due to insufficient funds.
    Union officials conducted an internal audit of their account and then hired a third-party to conduct a separate independent audit. A preliminary report from the third-party forensic review was then forwarded to the Delaware State Police.
    Union members were first notified of the financial irregularities in the AEA's checking account on June 20.
    "We've worked hard to keep our members informed, although unfortunately we have not had all the information on the details of the investigation," Caprinolo said. "The audits of our financial records are still ongoing and at this point we don't know how much we're going to be getting back in the end."
    Page 2 of 2 - Caprinolo said it's unclear if the union's insurance will cover all of the stolen funds.
    She declined to comment on how the missing money affected the union's operations.
    "We're working with DSEA to put in safeguards to make sure something like this never happens again," she said.
    Caprinolo declined to provide specifics about what measures would be added.
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