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Published: Thursday, 7/3/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Perrysburg Schools employee put on leave after he was arrested for theft of $80,000

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Eric Whitson Eric Whitson
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A Perrysburg Schools employee accused of stealing money from the Bowling Green Athletic Boosters, appeared in Perrysburg Municipal Court today on two charges of theft.

Eric Whitson, who was placed on administrative leave after his arrest, is accused of taking money from the boosters, where he served as treasurer, then replenishing the money with two checks totaling $80,000 from the schools. During his arraignment this afternoon, Perrysburg Municipal Judge Molly Mack set his bail at $80,000, with a 10 percent bond allowed to be posted.

Mr. Whitson, 30, of Bowling Green, was arrested Wednesday at Perrysburg Schools administration building, where he works in the treasurer‘‍s office handling accounts receivable and student activities accounts for the district. He has worked for the district for 10 years.

During his arraignment, Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said they found uncashed checks and a “substantial” amount of money in his bedroom at his parents’‍ house where he resides. He asked that the bail should be set at $80,000 since that is what he is accused of stealing. Mr. Dobson said that with no spouse, children, or real estate, Mr. Whitson has minimal ties to the area and could flee.

“There is no reason to anticipate he would ever not show up to court,” Mr. Whitson‘‍s attorney Peter Halleck said to Judge Mack during the hearing. “He has resided in Wood County his whole life.”

The two fourth-degree charges each have a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. He is expected to appear for a preliminary hearing sometime next week at Perrysburg Municipal Court.

Bond was set with the conditions that he is not allowed to have contact with Perrysburg Schools employees, Bowling Green Athletic Boosters, or the Northwest Ohio Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Mr. Dobson would not talk about the investigation, only to say that there are potential connections between the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Mr. Whitson. He also is not allowed on school grounds during the case, or to leave Wood County.

The school district said last year‘‍s audit revealed no discrepancies or irregularities. Prosecutors were alerted to the irregular checks -- both dated Feb. 28 -- by the Bowling Green Athletic Boosters, where he served as treasurer from 2009 until earlier this year.

Mr. Dobson said Perrysburg Schools, Perrysburg Police, and Bowling Green Athletic Boosters have been helpful during the investigation.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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