Ex-Lebanon choir director accused of stealing $2,100 from boosters

Kristi Ross resigned after being charged with theft of more than $2,000 from the choral parents group in Lebanon. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

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Kristi Ross resigned after being charged with theft of more than $2,000 from the choral parents group in Lebanon. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

A former Lebanon City Schools teacher and high-school choir director is accused of theft and other charges alleging that she used “credit cards belonging to the Lebanon Choral Parents Organization to order personal items from Amazon.com totalling $2,121.37 without permission of the organization” and attempted a cover-up.

Kristi L. Ross, 36, of Centerville, is also accused of presenting police with a fake Amazon.com receipt and attempting to defraud the parents group with phony records.

The charging documents, obtained Friday, also indicate the alleged crimes occurred between Oct. 26 and Nov. 7.

Ross was arraigned on Dec. 23 and is scheduled to return to Lebanon Municipal Court on Jan. 13 for a pretrial hearing on the charges.

Ross’ resignation has been accepted, pending board of education approval, Superintendent Todd Yohey said Friday.

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She is charged in with theft, falsification, tampering with records and misuse of credit cards.

Ross remained free while awaiting her preliminary hearing.

She hung up the phone when the newspaper called her seeking comment Thursday. No lawyer was listed in the court records.

The theft charge is a fifth-degree felony, subject to review for indictment by a grand jury in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

The other three charges are first-degree misdemeanors that could be handled in the municipal court in Lebanon, unless she is indicted beforehand.

Lebanon police have completed the investigation, and no further charges are anticipated at this point, Sgt. Matt Weithofer said Friday. Weithofer declined further comment until after the Jan. 13 hearing.

Ross, who had been with the Lebanon schools for 10 years, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 31 “pending the investigation of certain matters relating to your employment,” a district document read.

In November, Yohey said the accusation came from one of the school’s booster organizations and deals with “alleged financial discrepancies” with a booster group. He said it “does not involve students or taxpayer funds.”

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Ross previously taught and directed choirs in Carlisle Local Schools from 2006-2009. Superintendent Larry Hook indicated Ross’ personnel files showed no problems while she worked in the Carlisle school district.

In her 2009 application to Lebanon, Ross said she graduated from Miami University of Ohio with with a bachelor’s degree in music education and expected to complete her master’s degree in 2011.

She also indicated she taught vacation Bible school and gave private voice and piano lessons.

Ross indicated she had never been convicted of anything “other than a minor traffic violation” in the June 8, 2009 application.

“It is my goal, as a music teacher, to give back what was give to me. I want to instill in my students a love and appreciation of not only music, but what is out there in the world,” she wrote in the application.

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