BREAKING: Daycare owner arrested for allegedly creating fake invoices to School Board

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A local after school daycare owner was arrested Tuesday after allegedly creating fake invoices to receive more than $3,000 in federal COVID-19 grant money.

Tassany Nicole Matthews, 39, of Jennings was arrested for misappropriating funds from the Jeff Davis Parish School Board after turning herself into the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Matthews is not an employee or a contracted employee of the Jeff Davis Parish School Board, according to Superintendent John Hall. She is a third party vendor which is eligible f to receive federal funds which are passed through the school board, he said.

Email newsletter signup

The school board is in the process of implementing changes to the manner in which these award expenditures are being managed, according to a recently released audit of the school board’s finances.

The Sheriff’s Office began investigating Matthews in late December after an internal audit of the school board’s finances found a $3,624  reimbursement to a federal award subrecipient was submitted in September 2022 with what was believed to be fraudulently created invoices. The reimbursement was reportedly for supplies and materials.

Mike Gillespie, independent auditor for the school board, flagged the reimbursement while performing routine tests of internal controls during the school board’s annual audit. The audit, which was for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, was released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office on Feb. 12.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Ivey said detectives launched an investigation into the  theft in late December after receiving information of a possible misappropriation of school board funds.

The school board’s auditor provided paperwork to deputies that a fraudulent invoice was presented to the school board and paid involving the after school daycare owner, he said.

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Matthews last Thursday after repeated attempts to interview her and have her provide complete documentation from bank statements.

Matthews’ attorney was notified and she turned herself into detectives on Tuesday, Ivey said.