Police investigating the theft of more than $800,000 from athe Auburn Teacher Association say the organization's longtime leader acted alone when she stole the funds over a six-year period.
The Auburn Police Department has concluded their investigation into the embezzlement of over $800,000 in Auburn Teacher Association funds between January 2006 and November 2012. The missing funds were discovered shortly after former teacher association president Sally Jo Widmer was found dead in her Yates County home of an apparent suicide.
The investigation included an audit of the union??s financial records and interviews of several executive board members in place during Widmer??s tenure. Police say Widmer used the money to pay personal bills and credit cards, to pay charges resulting from misuse of union credit cards and she wrote checks to herself.
Police say Widmer was the only one with access and control over union funds, and no one other than her was found who misused the funds.
No one suspected Widmer in the embezzlement, as those who knew her thought she had significant financial means of her own, including proceeds from a successful family business and a pension earned during her teaching career.
The teacher??s union did not have a system of checks and balances at the time, and thought Widmer could be trusted.
Since then, police say the Auburn Teacher??s Union has new leadership who helped in the investigation and has also helped in putting a system of checks and balances in place.
Last week, Auburn police said Widmer had lost more than $350,000 at the Turning Stone casino over the last seven years of her life.
She was union president for more than 30 years.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)