Ex-DCPS bookkeeper charged with fraud, grand theft

School district employee stole thousands with fake reimbursements, police say

By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A former bookkeeper for Duval County Public Schools is accused of using her position to steal thousands of dollars from the district.

Tamika Martinez-Abihai, 32, was arrested July 10 by Duval County School Board police and is charged with seven counts of organized fraud, three counts of grand theft and two counts of petty theft.

Martinez-Abihai was initially hired as a bookkeeper at Normandy Village Elementary School in August 2016. She was transferred to Raines High School in August 2017 and transferred to Westview K-8 in April 2018.

The investigation lasted nearly a year. According to the arrest report, Martinez-Abihai turned in fake invoices showing she bought items with her personal credit card, then fraudulently reimbursed herself with money from DCPS.

“Stealing from the schools? You are taking away from the children. You’re taking away the budget, funding, taking away for yourself. I don't know how somebody can live with that,” said parent April Hosfeld. 

The principal of her last school, Westside K-8, told investigators her work was “erratic” to the point he planned to release her. 

The report says the principal of Raines High School, Dr. Vincent Hall, recalled speaking to Martinez-Abihai when she made what she said was a mistake involving an order for the band dance outfits. 

Hall told investigators Martinez-Abihai involved herself in a lot of activity at the school that often left her bookkeeping duties incomplete.

Hall said investigators Martinez-Abihai made several mistakes with the school accounts and he felt some mistakes were made that involved her dance group outside of work.

The complaint from the Duval County Schools Office of Professional Standards was forwarded to the Duval County Police Department two months after she started working for Westview K-8. 

According to the incident report, Martinez-Abihai continued working at the school during the investigation but she was removed from her position as bookkeeper and transferred to the Consolidated Warehouse/Teacher Supply Depot. 

On July 2, she was terminated from her employment with DCPS for "job abandonment.”

Martinez-Abihai has bonded out of the Duval County Jail. 

The following statement was released by the Duval County School District on the arrest:

"It is always disappointing when a team member’s alleged conduct results in an arrest, but our internal review systems worked. The employee that discovered and reported the issue and those that conducted the investigation are to be commended." 

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