Treasurer accused of taking $15K from high school fishing booster club

Published 2:34 pm Monday, July 8, 2024

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By Jon Styff

The Center Square

The former fishing booster club treasurer at Upperman High School in Baxter, Tennessee, was indicted on charges of theft and forgery after being accuse of misappropriating nearly $15,000 of funds.

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Former treasurer Rosemary Downs is accused of completing and signing 15 checking withdrawal slips at the bank and withdrawing $11,215 in cash, withdrawing nearly $800 from ATM machines, writing eight unauthorized checks payable to her husband totaling $2,393.82 and then endorsing the checks by signing her husband’s name on the back without his knowledge.

She is also accused of using the club’s debit card to make two Carnival Cruise transactions totaling $400.

“Booster club thefts continue to be an area of concern across Tennessee,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “As in many other cases, this situation involved one person who was given too much control over all financial duties without others being involved. A basic level of oversight would include requiring two signatures on all checks.”

Downs admitted to investigators she used the money on personal purchases but she also donated more than $6,000 to the club that she said were her personal funds used to reimburse the club account.

“In September 2023, while attending the High School Fishing World Finals in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, Downs accepted a $1,000 cash donation from an Upper Cumberland Junior Bass Fishing Club representative,” the investigation report said. “Investigators were advised that the donation was to be used for the Upperman Fishing Team’s expenses incurred while in Wisconsin. However, Downs did not issue a receipt for these funds and did not maintain financial records, including invoices or receipts for the disbursement of these funds.”