Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Ex-Bok Tech High money manager pleads guilty

Zara Sims was ordered to repay $6,000, which will be funneled to South Philadelphia High School.

Zara Sims
Zara SimsRead more

A WOMAN once responsible for overseeing the student-activity fund at Edward W. Bok Technical High School pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling from the fund.

Zara Sims was given four years' probation and was ordered to repay $6,011.85. The money will go to South Philadelphia High School, where most of Bok's students were relocated after the technical school closed in June.

Sims, 42, also known by her married name, Zara Rosario, pleaded guilty to theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds. She was ordered to pay $735 in court costs.

Sims failed to make deposits of "at least $26,823" to the fund, according to the affidavit of probable cause. The fund was used to pay for extracurricular activities and scholarships.

Bok's principal, Larry Melton, noticed the missing money in summer 2012 and talked with Sims about it. After she learned that the district was investigating the account, Sims deposited $17,000. She later tried to deposit $11,000 in checks, but the bank rejected them because the dates were six months old.

Sims was laid off that summer because of budget cuts, after 10 years with the district. She later met with detectives, once showing up with a certified check for $7,000. That check was used as evidence against her, a district source close to the case told the Daily News.

The district plans to report her felony charges to the Public School Employees Retirement System, which suspends pension benefits to employees found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor or higher.