The Arizona Department of Education has placed a worker on unpaid leave while the state attorney general’s office investigates embezzlement allegations involving education funds.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said his office believes the embezzlement started about 2000 during Lisa Graham Keegan’s term as state superintendent and continued until recent months. Horne said his staff discovered it while developing the fiscal 2004-05 budget.
Department spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico said the allegations involve a "substantial" amount of money, but she declined to specify an amount. "Because it’s a criminal investigation, we can’t disclose certain information," she said.
Rezzonico also declined to identify the employee or specify what account the missing money came from. She said the state employee volunteered to go on unpaid leave after the allegations surfaced.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office also declined Wednesday to comment.
Horne said his office will cooperate with the investigation and will release further information as appropriate.