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Harriman woman to plead to theft of gov’t funds

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By Damon Lawrence

Money that Kathy Ann Winters pilfered from the Alcoa City Schools and two professional organization was used to make purchases from department stores, buy gas and pay her mortgage and car notes.

That’s according to a plea agreement the Harriman woman signed on May 15.

She plans to plead guilty to one count of theft of government funds.

A hearing is scheduled in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

“The defendant is pleading guilty because the defendant is, in fact, guilty,” the plea agreement said.

Winters was a federal programs administrative assistant for the school system.

She also served as treasurer for the Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Steering Committee and the East Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Association.

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office revealed that Winters stole approximately $428,000 from the three entities.

“I would invoice for payment from the city finance office and deposit those checks in either the East Tennessee account or the Tennessee Steering account for my personal gain,” Winters wrote in a confession on April 4.

“I would forge my supervisor’s [name] (Debbie Smith) on the invoice for payment. I took cash from ATM’s for my personal gain. I sometimes wrote checks to myself for personal gain from the steering account.”

Some of the money Winters stole from the school system was for special education.

“Defendant abused her position of public trust,” the plea agreement said.

Winters agreed to pay restitution as part of her deal with the federal government.