Former principal indicted for allegedly stealing money meant for schools

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AHWATUKEE, Ariz. - A former Valley school principal was indicted for allegedly embezzling tens of thousands of dollars that were meant for students.

There was no answer at the door at the Ahwatukee home of former school principal Janet Thor the day after she was indicted on fraud and theft charges for allegedly misusing tens of thousands of dollars meant for the schools she was supposed to be leading.

The Arizona Auditor General’s Office found that between 2004 and 2009 Thor stole $54,791 in public money by withholding donations to the Kyrene School District.

Investigators say she diverted money into fake district bank accounts that she actually controlled. Thor is accused of taking $26,371 from Cerritos Elementary School in Ahwatukee between 2004 and 2007.

Then from 2008 to 2009 she allegedly stole another $28,420 as principal at Cielo Elementary in Chandler. That money had been donated to the schools and was supposed to be used for things like parent-teacher organizations, school supplies and to pay teacher certification fees.

The audit found that Thor used the money for "personal shopping, travel and debt expenses."

3TV spoke to Kelly Alexander, with the Kyrene School District, who tells 3TV, “We’re very concerned when things like this occur and we work very hard to make sure that the right trainings are in place but certainly sometimes employees do make decisions in which they circumvent our processes.”

The district says it was unaware of the unauthorized accounts Thor had set up. She resigned as principal of Kyrene de Cielo Elementary in spring of 2009.