Susan Thanh Litwin, 37, of Woodbridge, was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for embezzling more than $279,000 from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a Fairfax County magnet school.
On May 6, Litwin pleaded guilty to theft from an organization receiving public funds.
According to a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Litwin served as a finance technician for TJHS from January 2007 to March 2, 2010, and was responsible for receiving and depositing funds from various sources. These funds were used in part to support student athletics, classes, clubs and other school activities.
"She took care of money coming in from booster clubs and those sorts of programs," schools spokesman Paul Regnier said.
According to court records, Litwin admitted she used the signature authority TJHS had given her to steal funds by writing checks to herself without authorization and by making counter-withdrawals from various TJHS bank accounts and depositing the funds into her personal bank accounts.
From about March 2008 through January 2010, Litwin acknowledged that she stole more than $279,000 through several individual checks or withdrawals ranging from $2,500 to $35,000.
Litwin told law enforcement in an interview that the money was used to support a gambling habit that included trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., according to court records. She also said the theft was a result of extensive credit card debt and large mortgage payments on her home.
"She had a pretty serious gambling addiction," said her attorney, Michael Cantrell.
Cantrell added Litwin has been cooperative with the investigation and has returned a large part of the embezzled money.
"She has turned over a Florida property to authorities and plans on paying back the full amount," Cantrell said.