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Local News

Police: Former Lincoln-Way athletic secretary charged with theft, forgery

Melissa McGrath. 51, Manhattan
Melissa McGrath. 51, Manhattan

A former athletic secretary for Lincoln-Way Central High School was arrested for stealing more than $30,000 from a booster club over a period of nearly two years, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

About 6 p.m. Friday, Melissa McGrath, 51, of Waterford Lane in Manhattan was booked into the Will County jail on charges of theft, identity theft and forgery, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

McGrath resigned as the Lincoln-Way Central athletic secretary June 24, district records show.

On Aug. 6, detectives from the sheriff’s office were called to Lincoln-Way Central and spoke with administrators regarding “suspicious financial transgressions” discovered on the Lincoln-Way Athletic Booster Club accounting books, police said.

Administrators told the sheriff’s office they believed that McGrath ran two sets of books to siphon money from the boosters club, police said.

Detectives found more than $30,000 vanished between August 2017 and April, police said, and “McGrath created her own booster account spreadsheet that she would present to the athletic boosters and a second official accounting report that she would submit to the school district.”

Detectives also determined that several submitted reports contained forged signatures of athletic club board members, police said.

McGrath posted $200,000 bond and was released from custody about
1 a.m. Saturday.

McGrath was scheduled to appear in court Monday, records show.

Lincoln-Way Superintendent Scott Tingley previously said officials found discrepancies in Central’s athletic booster account while budgeting.

Tingley said an investigation by accounting firm Sikich, the district’s inspector general, led to McGrath’s resignation.

In February 2017, the Board of Education approved employing an inspector general to investigate complaints of waste and fraud after auditors found the district lacked the ability to detect and prevent it, officials said.

In September 2017, federal prosecutors indicted former Superintendent Lawrence Wyllie on charges of fraud and embezzlement. Wyllie allegedly misappropriated school funds and concealed the district’s financial deficit from the public, prosecutors said.

Wyllie’s criminal case has yet to go to trial.

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