Desert Hot Springs High clerk accused of embezzling $350,000 from school

A Desert Hot Springs High School employee is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars over 15 years from the school, police say.

Deneen Kuhlman, 47, allegedly siphoned off funds in her role as clerk for the high school, which required her to collect money for school functions.

“She was responsible for was collecting money from students mostly — for dances, ticket sales, other kinds of student activities,” Brian Murray, Assistant Superintendent of Palm Springs Unified School District, told KESQ. “And then it was her responsibility to make sure that it was all deposited in the right accounts and to make sure that that money was accounted for.

(Desert Hot Springs High School via Desert Sun)

An auditor looking into the schools finances began looking into Kuhlman’s bookkeeping in December, 2017 – at which time she reportedly told them about the embezzlement.

Kuhlman claimed that she would maintain accurate financial records at school. Then, when making bank deposits, she would keep a portion of the money for herself and edit the bank statement to match the records she was keeping at the school, according to police.

“Kuhlman said it got completely out of control,” Desert Hot Springs police Det. Christopher Tooth wrote in the declaration seeking an arrest warrant (via the Desert Sun). “Kuhlman said that, although she got audited twice a year, she couldn’t take the pressure any longer, which is why she wrote the email and attempted to kill herself.”

Police say that Kuhlman has been cooperating and is expected to surrender to authorities at a time to be determined.