The former director of Paterson's Alexander Hamilton Charter School was indicted Thursday on theft charges for allegedly cashing one of the school's checks several weeks after she had quit her post.
Carol Ann Gauthier, 46, left her job on June 27, but on July 18, she cashed a school check made out to her for $600, said William Gradisher, Passaic County chief assistant prosecutor.
A count of attempted theft was also filed because on the same day, Gauthier tried to cash a check for $4,500 at another bank, but officials there flagged the check and school officials were able to stop it, Gradisher said.
Gauthier could not be reached for comment Thursday, but previously she said the school owed her $27,000 in expenses and salary.
Gauthier left her job in a storm of controversy, with Alexander Hamilton board members accusing her of the thefts and of trying to sabotage the school. In August, the board members took Gauthier to court, saying she double-crossed the school during negotiations for a building lease.
School officials said they thought Gauthier was securing the lease for the Alexander Hamilton school, when in fact, she signed the lease for her own charter school, which they said she created on the sly.
Gauthier's charter school, called the Silver Fox Learning Center, never got off the ground, according to state records. The Alexander Hamilton charter school, plagued by fiscal problems, was turned over to the public schools in October to prevent the 250-student, K-5 school from being shut down.
The counts of theft by deception and attempted theft by deception each carry a maximum five-year prison term upon conviction. Court records show that several judgments were filed against Gauthier in the wake of a failed Newark restaurant project, and that she filed for personal bankruptcy.
Alexander Hamilton Charter School
EX-DIRECTOR OF SCHOOL FACES THEFT COUNTS; April 26, 2002; The Record (Bergen County, NJ)