ISP: Missing funds leads to arrest of former teacher


PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Tens of thousands of dollars turn up missing and it’s all connected to a school corporation in Parke County.

This was a story you first learned about from a News 10 investigation in January when few details were available.

Now, a former teacher from the elementary school is accused of theft and forgery.

Indiana State Police released Wednesday morning that Melissa McMullen, 38 of Rosedale, turned herself into the Parke County Sheriff’s Officer around 10 a.m.

On Monday, a warrant had been issued for her arrest in connection to four counts of theft and one count of forgery.

Indiana State Police stated she took an estimated total of $80,000 – some from the state of Indiana Teacher’s Association and some from classroom fundraisers. The investigation started when several groups started asking questions.

“There were a number of red flags initially before we became involved,” said Sgt. Joe Watts, Indiana State Police. “There were red flags from the teachers association, from some personnel that thought something might be happening, they need to look further.”

The probable cause that was released on Wednesday afternoon was several pages long.

In that document a particular thing of note – McMullen was in charge of a number of fundraisers at the elementary school. Those fundraisers included everything from trash bag sales to concession stand money.

Many of the profits from those were not noted accurately on the proper paperwork.

Information gathered after four months showed while McMullen was in charge of those fundraisers, she utilized $2,533.32 of that money for personal use.

That money came from four separate fundraising events.

Also, officials believe between September 2011 and December 2013 while McMullen was serving as the former president of the Southwest Parke Education Association, she allegedly utilized $75,251.86 of those funds for personal use.

McMullen, through her attorney, has since reimbursed the SWPEA the $75,251.86.

While officials went through much of what was available, several paper trails from those events were inconclusive.

News 10 contacted the Southwest Parke School Corporation and they’re not commenting on personnel matter, but say they’ll let the justice system work through this issue.

McMullen made bail from the Parke County Jail and is expected to appear in court next week.

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