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Woman charged with taking $20,000 from pre-school

July 11, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

A Bokeelia woman was arrested July 2 for allegedly taking $20,000 from Peppermint Tree Pre-School in Fort Myers over an 11-month time span.

Kathryn Swafford, 34, of 5486 Avenue E in Bokeelia was charged with grand theft and fraud/scheme to defraud more than $10,000, but under $20,000 from Peppermint Tree Pre-School where she was the bookkeeper.

According to a report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office, a complaint was made June 13 to Deputy John Gordan with the LCSO from Stuart Zaikov that cash tuition payments were being removed from the school by Swafford without permission or authority.

Article Photos

Kathryn Swafford

The complaint was documented and Det. John Paccione, LCSO Economic Crimes Unit, was assigned to the case. According to the sheriff's report, Zaikov stated that the cash tuition payments were removed from May 2011 through March 2012, while Swafford was employed as the company bookkeeper, for personal use.

The report states that Swafford allegedly entered the payments she received from the parent into the computer to provide a receipt for the customer, which was then deleted from the computer system once they left.

In addition, Swafford would do the same transaction for those parents paying for pre-kindergarten classes, according to the report. Zaikov told Paccione that the state of Florida would pay the school up to 80 percent of the tuition for the pre-k, which would leave the parents paying the remaining 20 percent.

Her trial date is scheduled for Aug. 6 at 8:30 a.m.



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