On Friday, July 20, 2017, PCSO deputies arrested former McKeel Academy Assistant Director of Academics and former Kathleen Middle School Principal, 46-year-old Ginger Collins of Lakeland, who had previously been arrested by PCSO in January 2017 for grand theft, fraud, fraudulent use of credit card, money laundering, and criminal use of personal ID, on new charges stemming from a new investigation that revealed she stole 14 iPads and embezzled funds using Polk County School Board-issued credit cards during her employment as Principal of Kathleen Middle School during the 2014-2015 school year.
Ginger Collins resigned as Principal of Kathleen Middle School in June 2015, and was hired in July 2015 by McKeel Academy as Assistant Director of Academics. As previously released, she resigned from that position in September 2016 when confronted by school officials about suspected fraud and theft (total amount stolen, $105,426), and was arrested by PCSO on January 10, 2017, on the aforementioned charges. She was released from jail on January 12, 2017, after posting bail (total amount, $39,000). That case is still pending outcome.
Click here to read the January 2017 news release: http://bit.ly/2uhJj86
The second investigation, regarding theft from Kathleen Middle School, began in October 2016, when one of 14 Apple iPads and an Apple Macbook Pro that were previously reported stolen from the school was identified as being sold on eBay. In November 2016, two more stolen iPads were recovered by law enforcement in New York and Colorado - PCSO detectives researched the Merchant ID from the Amazon transactions through which those were sold, which came back to Ginger Collins. The investigation revealed additional theft by Collins from Polk County School Board-issued credit cards. In all, Ginger Collins stole approximately $23,000 from Kathleen Middle School while employed as Principal.
Her current charges are:
- 60 counts dealing in stolen property (F-2);
- 16 counts passing forged or altered documents (F-3);
- 2 counts fraudulent use of credit card (F-3);
- 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-2);
- 1 count money laundering (F-2);
- 1 count grand theft ($10,000-$20,000) (F-3).
The following is an excerpt from her most recent affidavit, and is self-explanatory:
On October 22, 2015, a report was made to the Polk County Sheriff's Office of fourteen (14) missing iPads from Kathleen Middle School located at 3627 Kathleen Pines Lakeland, Florida. The Principal at the time of the original report, Shelia Gregory, discovered the previous Principal, Ginger Collins, had ordered thirty (30) Apple IPads and an Apple Mac Book Pro in December 2014. The Apple items were delivered to Kathleen Middle School where they were issued to the Assistant Principals and Deans at the School. At the end of the school year for 2015, the Apple IPads and Mac Book Pro were collected and secured in a closet between the Principal and Assistant Principals office. There are only four employees at Kathleen Middle School who have the key to access the closet: the Principal, the two (2) Assistant Principals, and the School Resource Deputy.
Principal Gregory checked the closet when she became Principal of Kathleen Middle School, and located the thirty (30) Apple IPad boxes within. During further investigation, she discovered only sixteen (16) of the boxes contained an Apple IPad, but fourteen (14) of the Apple IPad boxes were empty. The Apple Mac Book Pro was also discovered to have been removed from the secured closet.
Principal Gregory requested her secretary, Paulette Haul, contact the former Principal, Ginger Collins, about the Apple IPads and the Apple Mac Book Pro missing from the closet. Paulette Hall stated Ginger told her the items were at Kathleen Middle School when she resigned over the summer of 2015.
After PCSO was contacted about the missing Apple IPads, their serial numbers were entered into FCIC/NCIC system as stolen.
On October 11, 2016, information was received from The Polk County School Board of one of the missing Apple IPads was located in Michigan. The person in possession of the Apple IPad purchased the IPad from someone on EBay for $470.00 on September 8, 2015. However, he was unable to access the IPad, stating it was the property of The Polk County School Board. The serial number of the IPad was confirmed, #DMPNQ17EG5VW, as one of the fourteen missing IPads from Kathleen Middle School.
On November 16, 2016, after receiving the information about the Apple IPad being sold online, PCSO Detectives conducted further follow up into the possible theft of the fourteen IPads from Kathleen Middle School and the possibility of an employee of The Polk County School Board being involved with the theft and sale of the stolen property. Two other Apple IPads had been discovered, one in New York and one in Colorado. Both Apple IPads had been recovered by local law enforcement agencies and returned:
- The Apple IPad purchased by the person in Colorado was purchased on July 2, 2015, for $465.48 from an Amazon account. Information was obtained for the Amazon account and an investigative subpoena was submitted to Amazon for the transaction. The information recovered from Amazon showed the seller had a Merchant ID number 22695262005 with the email account of firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A second subpoena was submitted to Amazon for activity for Amazon Merchant ID number 22695262005 to include subscriber information and transaction history. The returned information from Amazon for Merchant ID 22695262005 is an account for Ginger Rosenau (Collins) with a billing address in Lakeland, Florida. The account was created on February 17, 2015. A total of 84 transactions were made with this ID.
The list of items sold through this Amazon account with the same Merchant ID was shown to Principal Shelia Gregory of Kathleen Middle School who identified multiple items which were purchased by Ginger Collins when she was the principal using credit cards provided to her by the Polk County School Board for business use for items needed at Kathleen Middle School. Ginger Collins then sold the items to purchasers through her Amazon account depositing the proceeds made from the sales into her personal bank account. The amount of school supplies purchased with a school credit card by Ginger Collins and sold on her personal Amazon Marketplace account is approximately $7,018.59.
Investigative subpoenaed documents revealed several purchases were made on the school credit card and then kept by Ginger Collins for her own personal use. These purchases included but are not limited to Apple IPhone accessories, Bluetooth speaker, and seasonal party favors:
- Ginger Collins was an employee of Kathleen Middle School (The School Board of Polk County) as the Principal. As such, she had access to the school's credit cards. This access was for legitimate purchases only. Ginger Collins took advantage of her fiduciary responsibilities by unlawfully using two school credit cards (ending in 0232 and 6651) to purchase items at Best Buy, including IPhone accessories and a laptop, and items by uttering a false invoice bearing a "Shop Mad Hatter" logo - total amount charged to the two credit cards: $3,001.39.
- Between February 2015 and December 2015, Ginger Collins engaged in an ongoing systematic course of conduct by creating false invoices in the names: of Sweet Lulu, Shop Mad Hatter Book Co., Creator.com, CanoDesigns, Nerd in the Brain, Wise Guys Inc., and Cellarbooks. Each of these false invoices were presented by Ginger Collins to Kathleen Middle School as a true receipt for lawful and authorized purchases. In reality, the invoices were created by Ginger Collins. The amount charged by Ginger Collins on her issued Polk County School Board credit cards towards the fake invoices is approximately $2,564.00.
- In addition to aforementioned law violations, Ginger Collins unlawfully took possession of fourteen (14) Apple IPads valued at $10,421.00 which she then sold through her personal Amazon Marketplace account. These IPads were received by out-of-state buyers. Three buyers have been contacted and it is confirmed they each unknowingly purchased stolen goods.
The funds that Ginger Collins received as a result of selling the illegally obtained or stolen items was deposited into her personal Suntrust account for which she is the only signer. The amount credited to her personal bank account is approximately $20,003.54.
The total amount of money, including proceeds from the sale of stolen Apple products, items purchased with school credit cards, and items paid to fake invoices, is $23,004.93.