Former Hebron Superintendent Accused of Stealing $15,000 From Town

Eleanor Cruz is the former superintendent in Hebron and current superintendent in Plymouth.

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    Plymouth Public Schools
    Eleanor Cruz, former superintendent of Hebron Public Schools and current superintendent in Plymouth, is accused of stealing town money while working in Hebron.

    The former superintendent of Hebron Public Schools has been charged with larceny after allegedly stealing more than $15,000 from the town, some of which was used to analyze Board of Education data in Plymouth, where she now works, according to state police and an audit conducted by the Hebron BOE.

    Eleanor Cruz, 63, of Essex, turned herself in to state police Thursday morning after learning of a warrant for her arrest. She's accused of charging personal expenses to two district credit cards while working in Hebron.

    The allegations came to light when the board discovered “insufficiently documented transactions” and learned some purchases couldn’t be verified, according to the Board of Education. The board then notified state police and a forensic auditor.

    According to the audit, dated Feb. 20, 2013, Cruz used district credit cards at restaurants, jewelry shops, boutiques, pharmacies, food stores, farmer's markets, florists, online retailers, a toy store and a car wash, among others, during the 2012 calendar year.

    She's also accused of paying more than $2,000 to a private consultant hired to analyze Plymouth Board of Education data, just months before she left Hebron and began work as superintendent of Plymouth Public Schools, a position she still holds.

    The audit says Cruz also charged baking supplies to a town account the day after she left the school system, on Dec. 15, 2012. According to the audit, Cruz billed the purchases to Gillead Hill School.

    Additionally, Cruz reimbursed herself $3,900 in unauthorized travel and insurance expenses, used district credit cards to buy $352 in clothing during a trip to Maryland and charged $198 in FedEx home deliveries, the audit alleges.

    As of February 2013, the board sought reimbursement for $15,038, in addition to legal fees and forensic accountant fees stemming from the investigation, the audit reveals.

    So far, the school system has recovered $9,905, according to the Hebron Board of Education.

    “We, along with Superintendent Jeffrey Newton, look forward to moving past this incident with a continued resolve to discharge of our fiduciary duties to the people of Hebron in a responsible and diligent manner,” said Karen Conderino, a spokesperson for the school system, in a statement Thursday.

    Officials from the Plymouth school system said Cruz was asked not to return to work after her arrest.

    The Hartford Courant reports that Cruz served as Hebron superintendent for more than seven years.

    She was arrested around 8 a.m. Aug. 7 and was released after posting $6,286.36 bond. She’s due in court Aug. 26.

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