GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Haven Area Public Schools says a former administrator accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the district over the course of several years apparently managed it without raising red flags with the school’s accounting firms.
Superintendent Andrew Ingall turned down a Tuesday request for an interview, directing News 8 to the district’s public relations firm, which then released the following statement from Ingall:
“Grand Haven Area Public Schools contracts with professional accounting firms to conduct annual audits. None of their findings revealed irregularities. In light of our recent discovery, we are in the process of hiring an independent forensic auditor to fully investigate the situation. Should shortcomings in our processes be discovered, we will immediately make adjustments based on their recommendations.”
Ingall declined to expand further.
According to court documents, now-former assistant superintendent Brian Wheeler is believed to have taken more than $900,000 since 2014. Police began looking into the district’s finances earlier this month when school officials realized bond money set aside for the technology department was missing.
Authorities say Wheeler stole the money by creating bills from a fake company for roughly $7,000 each. He would pick up the checks from the district and deposit the money in his own accounts.
It’s unclear what happened to the cash after that.
Court documents say Wheeler admitted the theft to his wife last week. Though the lights were on at their home Tuesday, no one came to the door when News 8 knocked seeking comment.
Wheeler, who worked for the district for more than 20 years, has been fired. He was arrested last week and is behind bars on a $150,000 cash/surety bond.