Woman charged with stealing over $500k from scholarship program - CBS46 News

Woman charged with stealing over $500k from scholarship program

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Marion Holmes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Marion Holmes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

A Goodyear woman is accused of stealing more than $500,000 from an Arizona scholarship program that assists needy students.

Goodyear police said Friday that 60-year-old Marion Holmes has been indicted in Maricopa County Superior Court on 35 counts including fraud, theft, forgery, money laundering, and other offenses.

Police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis says Holmes misappropriated at least $529,000 from the Arizona School Choice Trust (ASCT) for personal use.

The ASCT director and board members contacted Goodyear police in May 2013 and provided information about missing funds that led investigators to Holmes, who lives in Goodyear.

According to court records, accountants found Holmes fraudulently signed checks and disguised them to appear as contributions to Valley schools.

Investigators accused Holmes of using a credit card belonging to a former ASCT employee, making personal purchases. Some of the purchases include a baby shower at a Glendale hotel, a getaway to Catalina Island, CA in 2012, and a Carnival Cruise in 2011.

The court papers state the Attorney General's office demanded Holmes to forfeit several bank accounts, a 2011 BMW Sedan and her Goodyear home, which property records assess at $300,000 but shows Holmes bought it for $500,000. 

The ASCT is a state-approved school tuition organization that helps children from low-income backgrounds attend a private school of their choosing.

According to its website, the trust doles out funds through three state tax credit scholarship programs.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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