Arrest made in Tazewell Middle School embezzlement investigation - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Kathy Keene accused of taking more than $300K from Tazewell Middle

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Hundred of thousands of dollars are missing from Tazewell Middle School. Who is behind the alleged crime? 59News has learned it was a retired school book keeping secretary that was arrested. 

 The woman's name is Willie Kathy Hicks, better known to her friends as Kathy Keene or Kathy Hicks.  She worked as a bookkeeper starting in 2006 at the Tazewell Middle School. According to the Commonwealth Attorney, an investigation began once authorities were alerted about the missing money back in May 2013. According to the investigation conducted by the Virginia State Police, a total of $300,000 was unaccounted for over the passed 7 years.

59News reporter Lauren Hensley asked Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee, "was any of money stolen tax payer money?"

Lee responded, "there was a variety of apparent sources that paid in and some of it does appear to be tax payer money."

Dennis Lee did show us this, stacks of paper work auditing the schools finances.

The Board of education did release a statement saying: Dr. Michaelene Meyer, Division Superintendent, Tazewell County Public Schools:

"Upon notification of the potential irregularities in Tazewell Middle School's accounting for school activity funds, and suspected missing monies, Dr. Brenda Lawson notified members of the Tazewell County School Board.  The School Board took immediate action in this matter by informing and turning over the investigation to appropriate authorities.  At this time, the division has no further comment to make regarding this matter,"---Dr. Michaelene Meyer, Division Superintendent, Tazewell County Public Schools.

While the school is remaining pretty quiet-- folks in the community are speaking up.

"Especially taking money from children and education is supposed to help these children to prepare them for life. So taking money from kids is a big no, no," Constance Murphy, of North Tazewell said.

Hicks faces 15 counts of embezzlement charges and one count of money laundering. According to Lee, each embezzlement case can carry a 20 year sentence.





A Tazewell County woman has been charged with embezzlement and money laundering.

According to the Tazewell County commonwealths attorney's office, Willie Kathy Hicks also known as Kathy Keene was indicted on 15 counts of embezzlement.  The investigation conducted by Virginia State Police said since at least 2006, Hicks allegedly had taken thousands of dollars a year. Troopers said the total amount missing was more than $300,000.

The money that was taken was intended for the school and school related events.  Hicks was an employee with the school but has since retired.