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Posted: 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Kerry Kavanaugh
DULUTH, Ga. —
Police say a Gwinnett County woman took advantage of trusting parents when she pocketed thousands of dollars intended to cover day care tuition. One of the parents said she lost about $1,000 when the employee promised her a discount if she paid her tuition in cash. The mother asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation. "She called me one day and said 'We're offering a discount to the families that pay a substantial amount of weekly fees,' " the mother told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh. Her children attend Howell Station Academy in Duluth. The mother said in April, one of the employees offered her family a 50 percent discount if she began paying up front, in cash. "She came to me with a discount, and a hard-working mom that's not making a whole lot of money, you know, and just trying to survive and live and make it," The mother said. According to a police report, she wasn't the only one. The report said the owner of the day care contacted law enforcement after an internal audit revealed $10,000 was unaccounted for. Police believe one employee, Stephanie Howard, accepted cash payments or money orders on six separate accounts and pocketed the cash. The owner of the day care would not comment, but Kavanaugh did see a notice on the door which said they were no longer accepting cash payments. Kavanaugh went to the address listed for Howard. No one was home. Kavanaugh reached her over the phone, but Howard hung up. "I think that they are despicable. It's hard enough that we have to pay this type of money already so that we can come to work and make money to take care of the kids," the mother said. Police issued an arrest warrant for Howard last week on a charge of felony theft by taking but she has not turned herself in. The mother we spoke to said the day care did not make her repay the money that was taken.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation finds thousands of local votes in the last presidential election didn’t count, though many should have.
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