Former North Canyon High School employee pleads guilty to theft

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – A former bookstore manager at North Canyon High School in Phoenix has pleaded guilty to theft.

Beverly Hodges took more than $70,000 in school funds between July 2007 and November 2009, according to a report by the Arizona Office of the Auditor General.

An investigation revealed that Hodges embezzled $67,162 for her own purposes and misspent the remaining $5,349 on food and beverage items for bookstore staff.

The embezzled monies included payments made by parents and other individuals for extracurricular tax credit donations, parking permits, athletic programs, certain classes, student identification card replacements, lost textbooks and testing fees.

According to the report, Hodges took money from the bookstore's cash register and concealed the thefts by rekeying transactions into the register then generating false cash register tapes to prepare daily deposit records.

Hodges retired as the manager of the school's bookstore in 2009 and it didn't take long for her successor to find red flags.

Hodges agreed to pay $72,511 in restitution to the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

District officials said they have taken steps to prevent something like this from happening again.