It appears the woman accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $300,000 from the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation had a history of mishandling money.
Sherri Adamson, 50, of Rochester, took her own life on Jan. 7 of this year, just two days after she first came under police scrutiny.
On Tuesday, StaceyPageOnline.com reported that the Indiana State Board of Accounts concluded an audit of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation (See story). The findings noted Adamson was responsible for $307,206.18 in missing school funds.
The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department released the investigative report Wednesday afternoon which reveals Adamson’s own stolen purse is what ignited the probe.
On Jan. 3, Adamson reported her purse lost or stolen from the Plymouth Walmart. When the purse was recovered two days later, Plymouth Police Officer Derek Workman inventoried it and found suspect checks.
According to the report, the purse contained $870 in cash, “a large amount” of gift cards and several checkbooks. Officer Workman found four checks totaling $1,250 written to Adamson on a TVSC account and endorsed by Adamson. Evidence showed all of the personal items Adamson bought from the discount store totaled $303.91 and was paid for on the school corporation’s Visa.
Officer Workman notified TVSC Superintendent Brett Boggs, who confirmed that Adamson did not have permission to use TVSC funds for any personal purchases, nor should she have been in possession of the checks. The case when then handed over to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department for a full investigation.
On Jan. 7, KCSD Detective and School Resource Officer John Hart, along with Boggs, met with Adamson at the school to address the situation and terminate her employment. According to the police report, “Mrs. Adamson stated that it was all a mistake and she had nothing further to say about it.”
Adamson was led to her office to retrieve her personal belongings and then appeared to be walking to a restroom. She was to be transported by Det. Hart to the KCSD for a formal interview, but instead, Adamson fled the school.
KCSD Detective Josh Spangle was contacted and immediately joined in the search, which led to Adamson’s house. It was there when Terry Adamson told police a new shotgun was missing from the house. The men they saw vehicle tracks leading to the edge of a wooded area. When they found Adamson, she was deceased from a single gunshot wound to the head.
During the course of the criminal investigation, Terry Adamson told authorities that his wife had gone to Branson, Mo., with her mother a few years prior and when she left, she left him a note, a stack of credit bills and a grand total of approximately $250,000. Terry Adamson was forced to mortgage his farm to pay off those bills. He also said, after that, the couple never had joint banking accounts again.
The Indiana State Board of Accounts is seeking restitution from Sherri Adamson’s estate of $307,206.18. In an appeal letter to the state board’s audit findings, TVSC Superintendent Brett Boggs said, “The TVSC has public official bonds which cover the period of time in which the misuse of public funds occurred. The TVSC anticipates the bonds will result in full restitution of the public funds misused by the former corporation treasurer.”
The case has been sent to both Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller for final review.