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Palm Beach County School Treasurer and City Councilwoman Lisa Rivera Arrested for Grand Theft and Fraud

Former Boca Raton Community High School treasurer Lisa Rivera was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing over $20,000 from the school. Rivera, 47, is also a Greenacres city councilwoman in her second term.

She was charged with grand theft, official misconduct, and organized scheme to defraud and released on $10,000 bond. It is unclear if she has hired an attorney.

According to the arrest report, Rivera allegedly stole $23,085.85 when she was the treasurer at Boca Raton Community High School. She reportedly took money deposited by teachers and sponsors from the school’s drop safe and later replaced the stolen cash with checks deposited into the school’s bank account.

Some of the deposits Rivera made were reportedly unrecorded and some, including checks from parents for school activities, were miscalculated. The school learned about the alleged scheme during an audit in 2015 and Rivera resigned from her position in that year. When she found out she was under investigation last year when she was contacted by a school board police detective, she reportedly refused to talk to the detective and denied any wrongdoing.

The school district released the following statement:

“We appreciate the hard work by investigators with both the School District Police and School District’s Office of Inspector General on this case, which was turned over to the State Attorney for prosecution. We look forward to its quick resolution.”

Rivera won her second term as councilwoman in March after she ran unopposed. She was the first Hispanic to be elected on the City Council of Greenacres. It is unclear if she plans to resign from her position. The mayor of Greenacres and three other members of the city council could not be reached for comment.

Another grand theft case involving a school treasurer was reported in West Palm Beach last week. Cathleen Spring, a former treasurer at Bak Middle School of the Arts, was arrested last Friday for allegedly forging signatures on school checks to repay funds she reportedly took from the school’s safe.

Spring, 53, was charged with four counts of forgery and falsifying documents. She was booked into Palm Beach County Jail and was released after posting $4,000 bond. It is unclear if she has acquired the services of a lawyer.

According to the arrest report, Spring allegedly stole $66,000 from the school’s safe over a period of three years. She also reportedly used a school credit card for personal expenses and signed the school principal’s name on several checks without permission. Spring forged the checks in “attempts to conceal” the disappearance of money from the school coffers, the report said.

School police detectives concluded their investigation in 2015, but the State Attorney’s Office rejected the case because of “fatal flaws” in the report. State prosecutors cited the lack of video surveillance to prove Spring took the money as the reason and said the evidence tying her to the stolen money was “circumstantial.”

The school district police originally wanted Spring to be charged for grand theft, but after the case was rejected they took a different approach and focused on the forgery charges. State prosecutors have now agreed to pursue the case nine months after they ruled out criminal charges against Spring. That led to her arrest last week.

Sources: 6.27.17 Rivera Arrested on Grand Theft and Fraud Charges.pdf & 6.23.17 Spring Arrested on Forgery Charges.pdf