Counsellor brought to account

8th June 2007 at 01:00
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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