Dance school allegedly swindled by woman out of $65,000 - CBS46 News

Dance school allegedly swindled by woman out of $65,000

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Source: Gwinnett County Police Source: Gwinnett County Police

A dance school in Gwinnett County is warning others after administrators at the facility claim they were bilked out of $65,000.

At the Suwanee Academy of the Arts, classes are filled with young people learning to sing, dance, and play musical instruments. But this year, the most expensive lesson in the building is being learned by the teachers themselves.

Patty Etherton says she hired Arlisa Bookman to perform bookkeeping services and to handle the school's day-to-day payments. But she says the small size of the school made it ideal for Bookman to take advantage of the situation because no one was watching her.

"She would pay herself large chunks of money through the payroll service but didn't report it," said Etherton.

By the time Etherton acted on her suspicions and let another accountant be a second pair of eyes, she discovered Bookman stole enough money to buy a brand new luxury car.

A background check on Bookman reveals about five years ago, she was taken to court by several creditors and had to declare bankruptcy.  It's a red flag Etherton wishes she found sooner.

"Had I paid attention and looked, I wouldn't have hired her, because who wants someone like that doing her books," said Etherton. "I was too trusting."

Suwanee Police are looking for anyone who ever used Arlisa Bookman's services. They think she was so good at covering her tracks, it would take a real professional to tell something is wrong. If you gave her your personal information or hired her in any capacity, Suwanee Police want to hear from you.

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