Teacher arrested for fraud after keeping Change for Children money

Feb 2, 2023, 3:58 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm
(Google Earth Pro)...
(Google Earth Pro)
(Google Earth Pro)

OGDEN, Utah — A teacher at Mount Ogden Jr. High School has been arrested for fraud after not distributing Change for Children money and using the school’s tax-exempt Sam’s Club card for personal purchases.

The teacher was identified by an affidavit of probable cause as Elizabeth Galbraith.

According to the affidavit, police were informed of a discrepancy on Mount Ogden Jr. High School’s state tax-exempt Sam’s Club card. The card had been used on dates “when the school would not have authorized purchases, and from different locations indicating a potential fraud.”

Police obtained video surveillance from Sam’s Club where the purchases were made and recognized the woman making personal purchases as Galbraith, a teacher at the school.

After reviewing receipts, police discovered there were also a number of personal purchases made by Galbraith paid for in gift cards.

By using the Mount Ogden Sam’s Club card, Galbraith schemed hundreds of dollars in sales tax avoidance.

The affidavit states, “Elizabeth was the sole handler of money for the charity organization called Change for Children.” The charity gathered and accepted donations from local businesses for families in need during the holidays.

However, when police contacted families from the list of recipients of the Change for Children donations, police discovered “many of the families received half of what they were listed as receiving or nothing at all.”

Galbraith told Ogden School District officials and police in an interview that she “accidentally threw away between $8,000-$13,000 in gift cards” while on a medication. Further investigation by police and Ogden School District revealed $21,000 that was in Galbraith’s possession is unaccounted for.

Mount Ogden Jr. High along with the families on the donor list, were unaware that Galbraith was only making some partial donations and keeping the other proceeds for herself.

The affidavit states, “Based upon the thousands of dollars missing from the charity organization that Elizabeth [Galbraith] admitted to throwing away, but was found utilizing gift cards for personal purchases and utilizing the schools tax exempt status for personal purchases, Elizabeth [Galbraith] is being charged with 2nd degree felony communication fraud, and 2nd degree felony theft.”

Ogden School District released the following statement:

“Ogden School District placed a Mount Ogden Junior High School employee on paid administrative leave on January 11, 2023 when concerns arose about charitable donations as a result of internal review.

This led Ogden School District and Mount Ogden Junior High School to conduct an internal investigation. Subsequently, a law enforcement investigation was initiated. The employee submitted their resignation from Ogden School District on February 2, 2023. The district and the school will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in their efforts. We are not at liberty to comment on the criminal investigation.

Ogden School District has activated our Crisis Response Team to provide additional support for students and employees who may be experiencing distress.

We will proceed with steps to ensure that all financial discrepancies related to this situation are resolved and that all donation recipients receive the full amount intended by donors.”

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Teacher arrested for fraud after keeping Change for Children money