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Police arrest woman on suspicion of child-care center embezzlement

STANFORD -- Palo Alto police arrested a San Jose woman Friday, Sept. 20, on charges that she embezzled at least $3,200 from the Stanford Arboretum Children's Center on the university campus.

The center, a non-profit corporation independent from the university, provides care for about 135 infants, toddlers and preschoolers whose parents are employees and students at Stanford, Stanford University Hospital, and the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital.

Detective Bill Donnellan said Tammy Shipp, 23, was arrested at her home on one count of grand theft. She was booked at the county Elmwood Rehabilitation Center in Milpitas and held on $15,000 bail.

Shipp did accounting and collecting for the childcare center from April 1990 until Aug. 30, when she was fired for poor work performance. After her departure, Arboretum Center Director Diana Curl discovered five checks that Shipp allegedly made payable to herself out of the center's reserve bank account in August.

Center staff members and police now are looking at bank records for previous months to see if there are any financial irregularities.

The center's main account appears to be untouched, according to Kathleen Ritchie, treasurer of the Arboretum Center board of directors and director of the university's Office of Child and Family Services.

"We want to assure parents that this does not affect the financial stability of the center or the quality of our daily program for the children," Ritchie said in a Sept. 20 letter to parents.

She said staff members at the center will be spending a substantial amount of time in the next few weeks verifying records, tightening the center's financial systems, and strengthening internal and external controls.



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