Former Polk Co. principal charged again with fraud, money laundering

Officials say she stole equipment and embezzled money from schools.

A former Kathleen Middle School principal was arrested Friday for money laundering and fraud.

It marks the second Polk County Public School where Ginger Collins faces money laundering, fraud and grand theft charges.

Collins, 46, is charged with 60 counts of dealing in stolen property, 16 counts of passing forged or altered documents, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, one count of obtaining property by fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of grand theft.

 

 

The crimes occurred while Collins served as principal of Kathleen Middle School. Collins resigned as principal at the middle school in June 2015.

Authorities arrested Collins on Friday morning at her home in north Lakeland. Collins is scheduled to appear in court on Saturday morning.

 

Polk County Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd issued the following statement on Collins' arrest:

"We are aware of the arrest of former employee, Ginger Collins, on charges of stealing from the school district.

Ms. Collins previously served as principal at Kathleen Middle before finding employment within a local charter school.

Kathleen Middle’s incoming principal conducted an inventory that was instrumental in this investigation.

We appreciate the Polk County Sheriff’s Office being swift and professional in responding to this situation. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation.

As educators and public servants, we are rightfully held to a high standard. We are disappointed by any allegations of misconduct. We are entrusted to be good stewards of resources, and theft or misuse of those resources is unacceptable."

Collins is also charged in a separate case with one count of grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, money laundering and three counts of criminal use of personal identification while serving as assistant academics director at McKeel Academy. The case is still pending, and the total amount of embezzled funds reached $105,426.34.

Collins resigned from her role at McKeel Academy in September 2016. Authorities arrested Collins on the charges stemming from that case on Jan. 10, 2017. She posted $39,000 bail on Jan. 12, 2017.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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