Former Pasadena ISD employee charged with theft

Former book keeper for Pasadena Memorial High accused of stealing $68,000

By Phil Archer - Reporter

PASADENA, Texas - Prosecutors accuse the former book keeper for Pasadena Memorial High school with stealing at least $68,000 from the school's Student Activity Fund.

Ashley Adela Niess, 26, was arrested Thursday and charged with Theft by a Public Servant. Her bond is set at $136,000 dollars.

According to Pasadena ISD administrators, Niess worked as the school's book keeper from October 4, 2011 until April 13, 2012. She resigned the day after the school district announced it would conduct an audit of the school's books.

The audit was prompted by discrepancies in the school bank deposits, according to Associate Superintendent Renea Ivy-Sims,
"Her deposits were short. And it became a trend. It didn't just happen once it happened several times." Ivy-Sims says.

Auditors determined that $68,387.49 was missing. The money came from fund raising activities by students for clubs, student fees and activity fees. Investigators claim Niess altered receipts and deposit slips, and put the money in her personal bank account.

"A lot of times those are cash deposits," Ivy-Sims says, "So that was the money that was coming in that was from our kids."

According to court records, auditors believe the total amount of missing cash is much higher, but haven't been able to document it. The investigation is continuing.

Niess began working for Pasadena ISD in 2007 and held jobs in purchasing and payroll departments. But Ivy-Sims says Niess never handled cash in those positions.

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