Teacher accused of stealing coworkers' coaching supplements, even denying them when asked

Teacher accused of stealing coworkers’ coaching supplements, even denying them when asked

(As originally published, Tue, October 25th 2022, 3:40 PM EDT)

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Teachers get paid for educating in the classroom, but some also get supplements for work with extracurricular activities.

Andrea Smith-Thomas was one of them.

She taught at Atlantic High in Delray Beach and served as the school’s athletic director until this past spring.

SEE ALSO: Dad sues Palm Beach Co. schools, says teacher ‘put up 2 gay pride’ flags, ‘proselytized’

According to her arrest report, “The athletic director has the responsibility of informing the person in charge of payroll of which staff members will be coaching sports, and in return the coaches are paid coaching supplements.”

At Atlantic High School, the principal’s administrative assistant would enter the coaching supplements.

She “explained she only entered coaching supplements into [the payroll system] when the defendant informed her of who the coaches would be for the upcoming seasons. Coaching supplements were paid three times each year. Notification would be made by various forms of communication; it could be email, phone call, or providing a written list.”

SEE ALSO: No jail, no job for high school athletic director accused of taking $16k+ but not coaching

The arrest report said the administrative assistant “provided the inspector general’s office with documentation,” and an officer with the school district police department wrote that Smith-Thomas was paid:

  • $1,417 on March 5, 2019, for boys’ weightlifting,
  • $603 on March 5, 2019, for girls’ lacrosse,
  • $3,439 on May 14, 2019, for girls’ track,
  • $1,487 on March 16, 2020, for boys’ weightlifting,
  • $1,102.80 on March 16, 2020, for girls’ lacrosse, and
  • $3,611 on May 11, 2020, for girls’ track.

Then, the arrest report has what the police officer wrote after speaking with several people from Atlantic High.

Teacher accused of stealing coworkers' coaching supplements, even denying them when asked
Andrea Smith-Thomas is charged with public order crimes, grand theft between $750 and $5,000, and fraud/swindle under $20,000, Oct. 24, 2022. (Palm Beach Co. Sheriff’s Office)

The former principal, who’d been there for six years, said “she was not aware the defendant received a coaching supplement for being a lacrosse or weightlifting coach.” She also said, while she was principal, no staff member got “a coaching supplement for performing a duty for a team.”

SEE ALSO: Deputy mistakenly drew firearm instead of Taser in shooting, won’t face charges

Then, the officer told the principal “there was concern that there were some coaches not receiving supplements they would’ve been entitled to,” and the principal said “she would have reported it immediately” if she had “known something like that was going on.”

An 18-year school employee who was also assistant athletic director under Smith-Thomas said Smith-Thomas “has never been an assistant nor coach for girls’ weightlifting team” and her own “time as an assistant for boys weightlifting was not compensated for. She did this as a courtesy.”

A boys’ wrestling coach said Smith-Thomas “was not an assistant coach for wrestling during the time he has served in those capacities. … He approached the defendant and asked her if he could receive a second supplement because he did not have enough assistant coaches, but the defendant told him that there was no supplement for an assistant coach in boys weightlifting. [He] did not know the defendant was receiving a coaching supplement for wrestling while she was overseeing athletics.”

A third witness told police “she volunteered her time for approximately seven years” and “she has worked with several coaches over the years, but the defendant has never been an assistant nor coach for girls’ lacrosse at Atlantic.”

A former girls’ lacrosse coach said “she never had an assistant. [She] stated the defendant did not provide assistance to her lacrosse team. Furthermore, she also stated she did not receive her supplement for coaching lacrosse 2019 fiscal year.”

Another girls’ lacrosse coach said “he never had an assistant. [He] did ask for one but was told he had to find the coach on his own, which he did not. [He] stated the defendant did not provide assistance to his lacrosse team.”

SEE ALSO: PBSO: Dog dragged by the neck behind truck, man arrested

Then, the officer got paperwork from the district’s accounting department and wrote it “confirmed the coaching supplements were on the defendant’s pay stubs.

“The total amount of money paid out from March 05, 2019, through March 16, 2020, in coaching supplements the defendant was not authorized to receive totals $4,609.80.

“Due to the fact the defendant, Andrea Smith-Thomas, submitted forms or communicated with other means to have coaching supplements added for sports she did not coach, she did knowingly obtain property in the amount of $4,69.80 from Atlantic High School, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive Atlantic High School of the property.

“Also, the defendant used her position as a public employee (teacher/athletic director) to falsify records which enabled her to obtain a benefit she would not have been entitled to.”

Andrea Smith-Thomas, 56, was charged with public order crimes, grand theft between $750 and $5,000, and fraud/swindle under $20,000.

She was booked Thursday, Oct. 24, at 9:51 a.m. and released in lieu of $9,000 bond at 5:07 p.m.

CBS12 News checked with the Florida Department of Education and found Smith-Thomas is certified to teach elementary education and math. She has been certified with the state since 1989, with no disciplinary actions.

Something to add? Disagree? Let us all know!

Verified by MonsterInsights