Ga. Tech employee arrested in theft

On Friday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Merideth Durrah, a program coordinator in the College of Sciences.

The 38-year-old Jonesboro resident is accused of stealing the identity of an Illinois resident and having payroll checks issued in that person’s name. She then took possession of the fraudulent payroll checks.

"This woman had access to privileged information with respect to the person in Illinois," said John Bankhead, GBI spokesman. "How she got access to that information is still under investigation."

Bankhead said Durrah then forged a letter from a professor at the school offering the Illinois person a job, which started the ball rolling.

Two checks for $5,100 were generated and deposited into Durrah's checking account.

Durrah's arrest was the result of an initial investigation by the school's department of internal auditing, said the school's spokesperson, Matt Nagel.

According to Bankhead, the school started investigating after the woman contacted the school. She was declined for a job after a background check found that she owed taxes from the checks in her name at Georgia Tech.

Durrah is charged with theft by taking and forgery -- both felonies -- and more charges are possible, said officials.

"She has been terminated," said Nagel.

Durrah's not the first to have stolen from the university. In 2008, Donna Renee Gamble of Marietta was sentenced to 32 months in prison for stealing $316,000 with university credit cards.

Earlier this year, Michelle Harris was sentenced 10 years in prison for stealing $173,000 from grants and going on a four-year shopping spree with her university credit card.

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