Former Duplin substitute teacher convicted for embezzling $7K from PTO fund

Former Duplin substitute teacher convicted for embezzling $7K from PTO fund

BEULAVILLE, DUPLIN COUNTY - A former Duplin County substitute teacher has been convicted and sentence for embezzling nearly $7,000 from an elementary school's PTO fund.

Donna Godbold, 48, was sentenced to two years probation Tuesday. Police say she could have faced up to 17 months in prison. Because she didn't have a prior record and agreed to pay half the money back up front, prosecutors and the judge reduced the sentence to the probation.

Godbold was arrested back in April. According to police, Godbold stole $6,913.30 from the Parent Teacher Organization of Beulaville Elementary School. The embezzlement happened from April 18, 2012 through April 1, 2013, investigators said.

"She was going through some difficult personal times herself, which is no excuse, but I think the court looked at the overall picture, with her history," said Joey Carter, Beulaville Police Chief.

He adds that she was popular in the community.

"She had been there for a long time," Carter said. "The kids loved her, the staff loved her. She had a good personality, and she was just a well-liked worker at the school."

Godbold had access to the PTO credit card, and used the money for personal purchases, officers said. Members of the PTO noticed inconsistencies on the group's bank statements and notified the principal, who called police.

Godbold was a substitute teacher and substitute bus driver at Beulaville Elementary. She was charged with embezzlement, obtaining property under false pretense, and financial card fraud. Godbold was released on a $25,000 bond.

The S.B.I. also took part in the investigation. A Duplin County Schools official says Godbold was fired Monday and had been employed since September 2009.

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