Judson finance chief indicted

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The former keeper of Judson College’s finances will be arraigned Thursday in Perry County on charges she stole around $250,000 from her employer, the attorney general’s office said Monday.

Marion-resident Renee B. Kilpatrick was indicted on charges of first-degree theft of checks or currency, first-degree theft of a money order or certified check and illegal possession of a credit card, Alabama Attorney General Troy King said Monday in a press release. She had served as the vice president in charge of finance at the Marion all-women’s school.

Kilpatrick, 28, was arrested on Dec. 5 by the Perry County Sheriff’s Department.

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Judson College President Dr. David Potts thanked the Attorney General for the review and action “by the white collar crime unit,” though he regretted the occasion.

“We are deeply disappointed by this event, and are saddened for the family and our institution,” Potts said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

In the statement, Potts said he received a report March 24 of questionable activity in the college’s accounts at a local bank. Upon Potts’ request, Judson’s Board of Trustees authorized an independent audit by an accounting firm.

The audit found a number of questionable transactions between August 6, 1999 and March 13, 2005. The total amount of the alleged misappropriations, Potts said, was around $250,000.

After the Attorney General’s Office presented evidence to a Perry County grand jury, it handed down the three-count indictment. An indictment , the release notes, is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Kilpatrick is charged with the theft of checks or currency valued at more than $2,500, theft of a money order or certified check valued at $21,059 and possession or fraudulent use of a Judson College credit card.

The college, in its most recent audit, was valued as a $35 million enterprise. A college trustee, Potts said in the statement, has stepped up to pay the deductible for “insurance which applies to losses such as this.”

“We take our responsibility very seriously to protect all funds entrusted to us and to use them in support of the educational mission of Judson

College,” Potts said.

If convicted, Kilpatrick faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $120,000 for each of the counts of first degree theft, as well as one to 10 years and a $5,000 fine for fraudulent use of the credit card.

Potts said the college has already acted to ensure that such misappropriations are not repeated.

“Both policies and practices were modified immediately when we learned of the misappropriations,” he said, “in order to insure that such an even will not recur at the institution.”

The $250,000 theft, Potts noted in the release, “would not diminish (Judson College’s) ability to deliver its educational program.