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Counsellor brought to account

It is heartening to hear that school support staff in the United States can get extraordinary amounts of cash these days.

Take, for example, Sabrina Walker from Minneapolis, a school counsellor who checked her bank statements to discover that the local authority had paid her nearly pound;2 million. The 37-year-old is usually paid around pound;18,000 a year for her work at Hopkins high school.

Sadly, the gigantic sum was not part of a generous new pay scheme but the result of a single digit typing error by a Minnesota state employee who had intended to send the money to a hospital.

To her credit, Ms Walker did inform the state about the mistake, although only after she had invested some pound;700,000 and spent thousands on jewellery, bought four cars and spent pound;1,500 on limousines. She also gave an ex-boyfriend a cheque for pound;50,000.

Ms Walker has now been arrested and charged with theft by swindle and concealing the proceeds of the crime. She will appear before a district court on June 12, when her lawyer hopes her openness will be taken into account.

Asked about the mistaken cash transfer, Tim Wilkin, Minnesota's assistant human services commissioner, said: "We can all relate to typos, but obviously this takes it to another level."

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