Local school employee facing criminal charges

GARNER, Iowa – An employee in a north Iowa school district is being put on paid administrative leave after criminal charges are filed against her.

According to online court records Brooke Banse, who works as a student advocate at the Garner-Hayfield Elementary School, was charged Tuesday with first-degree fraudulent practice and tampering with records. Authorities believe Banse was falsifying service logs and making false claims to receive federal Medicaid payments. They say the amounts exceeded $10,000.

“On March 18, 2014 at 4:50 PM the board received notice that Brooke Banse was charged with a serious criminal offense. Pending the resolution of the criminal matter the board believes that Brooke Banse should be removed from duty immediately in order to protect the interests of the school district,” said Jim Thiele, Garner-Hayfield School Board President.

Wednesday morning the school board decided to put her on paid administrative leave while the investigation into her alleged actions continues.

As a student advocate, Banse works with at-risk students who may need help academically or socially.

School representatives are adamant that her actions did not involve any students and no money was taken from the school district, but district leaders say they’re still in shock at the charges against one of their own.

Banse posted bond Tuesday night and was released shortly after.

According to authorities, each instance of fraud can result in a sentence of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $25,000.

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