A former principal at a Minneapolis elementary school pleaded guilty Thursday to using a school district credit card for thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
Anne DePerry, who was principal at Whittier International Elementary from 2012 to 2015, entered a straight plea to three counts of theft by swindle, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.
Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, DePerry, 56, is expected to receive probation. Her attorney and assistant Hennepin County Attorney Susan Crumb will work out the length of her probation and whether she should serve time in the county workhouse.
DePerry has since moved to California, where she works at a charter school. The judge will determine if she can serve her sentence there.
The criminal complaint against DePerry said a school district audit in 2015 found that she charged more than $11,000 in personal expenses on her school credit card over nearly two years. Another $5,000 was marked as unaccounted or suspicious.
A random district audit in October 2015 uncovered a charge for a hat store overseas on the credit card issued to DePerry, according to the criminal complaint. A review of six weeks of DePerry’s credit card expenses found about $1,700 in charges not related to school business.
DePerry told the auditor that “she must have ‘accidentally’ used the card for personal purposes,” the complaint said, and offered to write a check for the charges.
A complete audit since the charge card was given to DePerry found more personal expenses charged to the school district. Her spending from December 2013 through September 2015 contained $11,830 in charges that weren’t school-related. Another $5,440 in charges was suspicious but “could not be ruled out as having a school purpose,” the complaint said.
The Attorney’s Office said DePerry signed a civil confession of judgment with the school district for $10,000. That will be considered at the sentencing discussion about whether she has to pay restitution to the school district.
Karen Zamora • 612-673-4647