Fired Hannah Mullins secretary charged with theft

LISBON – The former secretary/financial aid officer for a Salem nursing school has been indicted nearly 18 months after first accused of stealing $23,440 from the school.

A secret indictment issued in July by the Columbiana County grand jury was served Wednesday on Sherri L. Phillips, 45, Longs Crossing Road, Leetonia, charging her with theft, a third-degree felony. She is accused of stealing more than $7,500 from the Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing between January 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010.

The indictment comes 17 months after the state auditor’s office issued a finding for recovery against Phillips in the amount of $23,440. Phillips had worked at the nursing school for 15 years before being fired by the Salem school board in February 2011. While the Salem school district oversees the nursing school as an adult education program, the nursing school has its own staff that handles daily operations.

As financial aid officer, Phillips’ duties included collecting student fees and tuition and depositing the money with the Salem school treasurer, who was the one who first detected the discrepancies in 2010. The superintendent was later alerted, and he contacted the state auditor.

According to the state audit, documentation was found of 60 receipts totaling $16,230 being recorded in the nursing school receipt book from Aug. 17, 2010, to Sept. 3, 2010, but the money was never deposited with the Salem school treasurer’s office. Nursing school students also provided state examiners with duplicate receipts totaling another $7,210 they paid but was never deposited.

Phillips was contacted by the newspaper for comment when the finding for recovery was issued in March 2012, and she told the reporter she had done nothing wrong.

Staff Writer Mary Ann Greier contributed to this story