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CLAYTON • An internal audit revealed a Missouri Baptist University employee used her position as the university's controller to embezzle about about $107,000.

St. Louis County prosecutors on Nov. 9 charged Melinda Okai, 48, of the 1400 block of Soaring Eagle Drive in O'Fallon, Mo., with stealing more than $25,000.

Creve Coeur police say that the scam began shortly after Okai was promoted to controller at the Creve Coeur university in late 2009.

Investigators say Okai used two strategies to steal from the university, both of which she learned after her husband had been a student there, according to court documents.

The first involved executing fraudulent refund checks, which are issued when a government educational loan exceeds the amount of charges from the university. The university also allows students to obtain emergency loans for up to $1,000, which are credited to their accounts in anticipation of receiving loan proceeds, according to court documents.

Okai executed numerous such loans on her husband's account, but never credited the loans to her husband's tuition accounts. She was listed as the responsible billing party for her husband's accounts, so, all the checks were listed in her name and the checks were posted to her personal bank account, according to court documents.

Okai confessed the schemes to her employer, but refused to make a statement when Creve Coeur police arrested her, according to court documents.

Police believe she embezzled at least $107,406.39 between December 2009 and May of this year. 

Her bail has been set at $20,000.

Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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