Former Arkansas school district administrator pleads guilty to spending more than $230,000 on personal online purchases using district credit cards

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From August 2014 to August 2018, Karen James spent over $4,000 on a recliner, bath mats and other homewares from Wayfair; more than $27,000 on 83 unauthorized PayPal purchases; over $199,200 on 2,462 items from Amazon including housewares, makeup, clothing, gift cards, pet products and knitting supplies for a total of $230,635.86 of fraudulent purchases, according to the press release.

James used two LRSD credit cards, funded by state and federal grants, issued to him to make purchases for early childhood programs in the district, the statement said. As part of the credit card agreements, James had to sign stating that the cards could not be used for gift cards or personal purchases and that items could not be shipped to her home, he adds.

The district discovered in August 2018 that James had submitted “fabricated receipts and false transaction logs,” according to the statement. LRSD obtained original receipts from sellers to verify actual purchases and discovered that many purchases were sent to her home, the statement added.

James’ plea deal will require him to pay $230,635.86 in restitution to LRSD, according to the statement.

James will be sentenced at a later date by US District Court Judge Kristine Baker.

Erin Cassinelli, attorney for James, said Friday, “We have no comment at this time.”

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