Ex-Lowell Schools Clerk Pleads Not Guilty to Larceny
WOBURN -- In a swift proceeding, a clerk who oversaw student activity funds for Lowell Public Schools was released without conditions following her arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on Thursday on larceny and forgery charges.
Karen Brekalis, 48, of Tewksbury pleaded not guilty to larceny over $250, forgery of a check and uttering a false check.
During the court proceeding, a representative from the Probation Department said Brekalis has no prior criminal record. Prosecution requested Brekalis -- who was not in custody and appeared “on her own” in court Thursday -- to be released on personal recognizance with no conditions.
Paul King, the defense attorney representing Brekalis, waived the reading of her charges. He did not respond to a phone call asking for comment.
Her next court date is April 17.
In November, The Sun learned Brekalis was a suspect in an investigation into about $50,000 missing from a general student activities fund.
Administrators confirmed an employee was placed on paid administrative leave following the discovery and was no longer employed by the district just days later.
At the time of the discovery, Brekalis was listed on the district’s website as a clerk at Sullivan Middle School.
In the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, she is listed as earning $46,368 annually as an account business clerk in the district’s central office.
The finding came amid a period of administrative and financial upheaval in the district. During the monthslong process of terminating former Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui, new administrators identified multiple financial issues within the district, including an over $2 million budget shortfall.
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