Bryan Cohen Apr. 22, 2013, 5:48pm

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced a lawsuit on April 15 against a former school extracurricular treasurer who allegedly misappropriated more than $22,000 from two Cedar Lake-based schools.

Jennifer Grcich, an extracurricular treasurer at two schools in the Hanover Community School Corporation between July 2010 and November, allegedly failed to deposit textbook rental fees, payments for gym uniforms, athletics transportation fees, payments sponsors made for cheerleading fundraising and other payments. Two separate State Board of Accounts audits issued on April 4 alleged Grcich misappropriated the money and must pay it back.

"What a poor example it sets for students when a school employee entrusted with parents' hard-earned money decides to pocket those funds instead," Zoeller said. "My office will make every effort to recoup misappropriated funds from this defendant who violated the public trust and return that money to the school treasury."

Zoeller's lawsuit seeks $44,378.20 from Grcich for reimbursements and to cover the costs of audits, in addition to treble damages, costs and attorney fees. The lawsuit also named Fairfield, Ohio-based Ohio Casualty Insurance Company as a defendant. Ohio Casualty wrote two bonds of $12,000 each on the extracurricular treasurer position in 2010 and 2011, and a separate $15,000 bond on the position in 2011. The state seeks to redeem the bonds to partially reimburse the school corporation for the amount owed. The remaining portion not covered by bonds would be the personal responsibility of Grcich.

Zoeller's office also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to freeze Grcich's assets until a hearing can be held on a motion for a preliminary injunction. The restraining order would preserve Grcich's assets that could be recovered later to reimburse the schools.

Since January 2009, Zoeller's office has collected approximately $2.4 million from former government officials who misappropriated public money.

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