Lynn Tomlinson, a former secretary and bookkeeper at Holy Sepulcher School in Middlesex Township was formally arraigned today on charges of embezzling thousands of dollars from the private Catholic school, a statement from the Diocese of Pittsburgh said.
According to forensic audits from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the amount involved in the theft could exceed $250,000 over a six-year period.
State Police at Butler have charged 43-year-old Tomlinson, of Valencia, with three felony counts of thefts in the incident. She also faces charges of access device fraud and record tampering.
In a letter to parishioners and school parents sent Thursday, Father John Gizler, pastor at Holy Sepulcher, said the parish business manager discovered the first sign of possible theft after a routine follow up on what appeared to be a unpaid tuition bill.
“With the assistance of diocesan auditors, we undertook a thorough financial investigation. Major diversions of school tuition, receipts and scrip purchases were revealed,” Gizler wrote.
Gizler said Tomlinson admitted last May to embezzling cash and diversion in scrip account charges and tuition payments. All information was then turned over to authorities. Tomlinson was arraigned after their investigation, Gizler said.
“Fortunately, at this point, it appears that she was the only person involved in this ongoing theft,” he said.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Tomlinson told investigators she used the stolen gift cards and cash to pay bills and the she eventually "got carried away with the spending," using the funds to buy clothes and jewelry.
Gizler on Thursday called on the Holy Sepulcher parish and school community to pray for Tomlinson.
“While we most assuredly extend forgiveness, we all know that justice must be served as well,” he wrote.
Holy Sepulcher is located off Route 8, about two miles north of the intersection of Route 228.
The preschool through eighth grade school consists of students who live within the Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Mars, South Butler, Butler and Deer Lakes school districts borders, according to Holy Sepulcher.
Tomlinson’s bail was set $400,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. March 27 before District Judge Sue Haggerty in Saxonburg.
Check out some of today's other top stories here.