EVIT teacher indicted on fraud, embezzlement
(Special to the Tribune) On Nov. 6, Steven Grosz was indicted on four felony counts of theft, misuse of public monies and forgery.
A teacher responsible for operating the radio station at the East Valley Institute of Technology has been indicted on fraud charges after investigations by the Arizona auditor general and attorney general.
Prosecutors with the Attorney General’s Office obtained an indictment charging Steven Grosz with fraud after an audit found he had diverted $3,750 in school funds to his personal business account, set up for his disc jockey business, “The Disc Jockey Company.”
Although Grosz resigned in lieu of termination in June 2013 when the financial irregularities were discovered, he was re-hired in October 2013 after repaying $2,320 to EVIT, according to an Auditor General’s Office press release.
The audit criticized EVIT for accepting Grosz’s explanation that he had spent $1,322 for EVIT-related expenses, noting that he failed to submit any proof.
“Officials should not have accepted Mr. Grosz’s claim as it was an exception to EVIT’s standard, yet unwritten, policy identified by the superintendent. She stated EVIT does not reimburse employees if they do not have a purchase order,” according to the Auditor General’s release.
EVIT’s longtime superintendent, Sally Downey, was not specifically named in the press release.
“This was something EVIT dealt with over four years ago. We thought the situation was resolved at that time. We will wait to see what happens next in the legal process,” EVIT said in a statement released by a spokeswoman.
In addition, the Auditor General found that Grosz attempted to cover-up his actions by altering his bank account records.
The discrepancy was discovered when an assistant superintendent asked him to bring up his bank account records on a computer and found they did not match the documents Grosz had previously submitted during the inquiry, according to the release.
“Our investigation revealed that from February through May 2013, Mr. Grosz may have embezzled $3,750 of public monies that should have been used to support EVIT’s radio station operations. Mr. Grosz also altered two financial reports he submitted to EVIT officials during their inquiry of his alleged misuse of EVIT monies,” the Auditor General’s press release said.
“Mr. Grosz provided two financial reports allegedly showing his business bank account history for the two time periods in question.
“However, he altered these reports to falsely show positive rather than the actual negative bank account balances by making 55 alterations,” the release said.
The alterations included “removing insufficient funds charges, removing or altering details on transfers to and from his personal bank account, and changing transaction amounts related to cash withdrawals and deposits.”
Grosz initially denied altering the records during the Auditor General’s investigation but later admitted he did it, according to the press release.
Grosz was still working at EVIT when the indictment was issued by a state grand jury. He was served with the indictment on Nov. 29 and is scheduled to appear in Maricopa County Superior Court on Dec. 5.
Grosz is charged in the indictment of violating his duties as a custodian of public monies by using them for his own purposes, two counts of theft and one count of forgery. He is charged with committing the crimes between February and June 2013.
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