Just before the winter holiday break in 2013, the accounts clerk at Helen Cox High School reported an astonishing crime. She told investigators that an armed robber showed up at the Harvey school’s office and made off with potentially thousands of dollars in cash and checks, all of it collected from students for senior dues, candy sales and other school functions such as dances, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office records.

But after school officials investigated, they pointed to the clerk herself as the culprit. Nieli Hebert, 45, is suspected of embezzling about $75,000 over more than a year, according to a new audit and Sheriff’s Office records. Prosecutors are trying to decide whether to charge Hebert with a crime, her attorney said Tuesday.

Soon after Hebert reported the robbery, she resigned. School system officials began to examine Cox’s books and talk to other employees. They eventually told police that Hebert might have stolen the money, and the Sheriff’s Office arrested her March 31.

Witnesses told investigators that Hebert received cash and checks collected by teachers for the student activity fund. She entered the amounts in her computer and gave receipts to teachers.

Read More