Recording shows Lambert admits taking student money because no one was looking anyway
In a federal sentencing hearing, prosecutors revealed secretly recorded FBI audio and video tapes, where former high ranking BISD official Patricia Lambert was recorded.
In the recordings, which were revealed Tuesday, Lambert spoke about writing checks, and signing other people's names to them. When asked why, according to the recording, she said she thought it was okay because no one was looking anyway.
Federal Judge Thad Heartfield is holding a hearing to determine how much money Lambert took. The assessment will help determine her sentence.
Lambert is a former BISD Assistant Superintendent and former Central High School principal.
Testimony in the second day of the hearing from FBI special agent Christopher Day showed Day had Lori Rochelle, a former Central High School Student Activity Director and witness, as well as Sharon George, hold recorded conversations with Lambert.
In the conversation, George called Lambert and said the FBI showed her lots of checks Lambert wrote to her kids. George asked her 'why would you write checks to your children?'
Lambert said it was for their summer school participation as well as a 'Nashville thing'. Lambert tells George to go to the school and pick up checks and receipts so Lambert can go over them before the FBI contacts her.
Rochelle had a video recording of Lambert. They were sitting in her car in the Gateway Shopping Center.
Lambert said she wrote checks to her own daughter and deposited them in a joint account held between her and her daughter. She said her daughter never knew about the checks-- the FBI also testified to that-- but Lambert wrote the checks to her daughter so it wouldn't look like she was writing checks to herself. She says she did it to reimburse herself for things she bought for the school.
When Rochelle asked Lambert why she forged her name and George's name on checks-- Lambert responded by saying she thought it was okay because no one was looking anyway.
Sharon George, the 4th witness, said Lambert would tell her to bring the concession stand money to her house where they would count together and then Lambert would tell her which student accounts to deposit the money into, even though the money was meant for the booster club.
George was listed as the VP of the booster club in 9/29/08 but she said she never had knowledge of that. Says Lambert 'picked who she wanted to be in the booster club.'
George would sometimes sign Lambert's name to things with her permission.
Lambert requested $2,000 from the accounts after she was no longer principal at CHS (one or two months after) to help her 'start school.' Later (within that time frame) Lambert asked for more (to pay 'unpaid' bills from CHS) George was suspicious and asked an administrator at Central if it would be okay. He said yes.
George later asked superintendent Chargois if she could be removed as bookkeeper because she didn't want to be 'set up next.' She said "I took the fall for her one time before and I'm not gonna do it again." She asked to be moved to attendance clerk or a job similar to that.