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FBI investigating $785,000 fraudulent payment in Teton school district


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DRIGGS — The FBI is investigating a major case of fraud in the Teton School District.

On Thursday, the district notified police that an employee made a payment of $784,833.71 to a fraudulent bank account accessed through a district email account, Jeannette Boner of Teton Valley News reported Friday.

Teton Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme said the payment consisted mostly of school bond funds meant for Headwaters Construction Company, the Victor-based general contractor overseeing the district’s construction of a new elementary school and other renovations.

“It was one of the monthly construction payments,” Woolstenhulme told Boner. “We have been making construction payments since we started and these funds are from the bond.”

The case has been forwarded to the regional FBI agency, which will be heading up the investigation, Teton Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mitch Golden said. The district is conducting an internal investigation and has notified its insurance carrier, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), of the issue.

“This is extremely devastating for our community,” Teton School Board Chair Chris Isaacson told Teton Valley News. “For this to happen to our community is very sad and disheartening.”

In March 2017, Boner reported a similar instance of fraud occurred when the district paid nearly $20,000 to a fraudulent bank account. The funds were recovered through ICRMP.

Trustees have scheduled a special executive session for Friday at 10 a.m.

This article was first published by Idaho Ed News on Dec. 26. It is used here with permission.