Former HMS bookkeeper pleads not guilty to school embezzlement charge
HELENA – An Alabaster resident and former school employee recently filed a waiver of arraignment and pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft of property in the first degree.
Tyee Marks Eason, 47, who lists an address on West Grande View Terrace in Maylene, pleaded not guilty to allegations that she embezzled $100,014.31 in funds belonging to the Shelby County Board of Education between February 2015 and December 2016 while working as the bookkeeper at Helena Middle School.
Eason was initially arrested by the Helena Police Department on June 1, 2017, and booked into the Shelby County Jail. She was released from jail on the same day as her arrest on bonds totaling $30,000. She was indicted on the first-degree theft charge in February.
A statement released by the SCBOE on June 14, 2017, disclosed that Eason had been a school system employee for 11 years and had worked at HMS since its opening in 2008 at the time of her arrest.
Almost a month after her arrest, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office filed a “notice of upward departure,” to allow Eason to receive a more severe sentence if she is convicted of the crime. Prosecutor P. Douglas Smith Jr. alluded to Eason’s “fiduciary relationship” with the school board and “the high degree of sophistication or planning,” related to the theft.
First-degree theft of property is a Class B felony, which can result in two to 20 years in prison upon conviction.
Eason is set to appear in court for a status call on May. 14.