School Financial Officer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Another Dumb Crook News segment. Folks, I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but I’m going to say it again. Blackjack and other gambling games should be done in your leisure time with money that you have to spend on leisure. In other words, if you don’t have enough disposable income to justify gambling, you shouldn’t do it. You don’t need a lot of money to play blackjack, but if you don’t have the money, don’t play. How do you know if you don’t have enough? Well, if you have to steal money to play, that is a good indication. Such is the case here.

Susan Thanh Litwin pleaded guilty to embezzling $279,000 from a technology school in Alexandria, Virginia. Litwin, 37, was the financial technician for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology when she withdrew $279,000 in student funds. Most of the money she spent playing blackjack at casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Her attorney said that she had a gambling addiction, which may be true or just a convenient excuse. In either case, it doesn’t excuse stealing money from children to fund a gambling habit. Litwin resigned from her position with the school, having worked there for 18 years, once her embezzlement was discovered.

This morning, Litwin pleaded guilty to embezzlement and will be sentenced in July. Since the school she worked for receives federal funding, her embezzlement was treated as a federal crime. She faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines in addition to restitution. Taking steps to pay back the money, Litwin has relinquished ownership of a house in Florida and will forfeit her retirement savings, which amount to approximately $60,000.

Pleading for leniency in front of the judge, Litwin said “I love the kids. Working with them… it’s my passion.” She then added, “I just love playing blackjack more, so I decided to take money from the kids. Besides, I assumed that I’d win money, in which case I could have paid it back.” Okay, I made up that last quote.

Not much more needs to be said here, but it’s disturbing how many cases of embezzlement I’ve seen where the funds have been used as blackjack gambling money. Here’s hoping Ms. Litwin never sets foot in a casino again.

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