Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Chrisitan school worker pleads guilty; stole $293K

A man formerly employed as a chief technology officer at a Christian school in Arlington Heights, Illinois, in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, pleaded guilty to felony theft and was sentenced to 24 months probation and ordered to make restitution, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Police said Michael Burrei, 41, stole $293,000 from Christian Liberty Academy via the school store’s PayPal account. He was accused of diverting money into a personal checking account.

The money taken was largely from families purchasing curriculum, textbooks, and other resources from the school’s large home-school ministry called Christian Liberty Academy School System, or CLASS, Pastor Calvin Lindstrom told the Daily Herald last spring.

“We’re thankful to the Arlington Heights Police Department and the assistant state’s attorney for investigating this matter and taking it seriously,” Rev Lindstrom was quoted as saying. “We are praying justice will be served.”

Mr Burrei paid restitution of $150,000 during a hearing in Cook County court last week, the Tribune noted, and has been ordered to pay the remaining amount in monthly installments that go up next year.

He resigned from his $125,000-a-year job at the school in 2015 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, police said, but that was after he had made more than a hundred transfers from the PayPal account into his personal account between August 2013 and November 2014.

Other cases around the country involving theft using online retail outlets or payment companies include a case near Pittsburgh earlier this year. Ligonier Township zoning officer Cynthia Angelo was fired in 2013 after an audit determined she had accessed websites like eBay, Facebook, and PayPal from the office and sold township property, including gifts from an office supplier.

In addition to being fired, she was fined $500 for ethics violations, according to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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