NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The former superintendent of North Providence Schools was sentenced Friday to three years of probation after pleading out in an embezzlement case.
Bridget Morisseau, 49, was also ordered to repay the $9,434 in public funds she used for personal expenses, according to North Providence police.
“Taking advantage of taxpayers by using public monies for personal expenses is not only illegal – it’s offensive,” Col. David Tikoian said in a statement. “This type of behavior erodes the foundation of integrity and ethics citizens expect and deserve from those placed in positions of trust and responsibility, such as a school superintendent.”
Morisseau was placed on administrative leave in mid-July 2018 after the allegations began to surface. She resigned a week later, around the same time an auditor was brought in to review her expenditures.
Morisseau was later charged after the audit revealed she used a department credit card to pay for personal expenses such as hotel rooms, airfare and catering.
Police said Morisseau has a week to make the restitution payment.
Morisseau’s attorney, Joshua Mackatz, told Eyewitness News over the phone that his client is “relieved to put this behind her.”
“She accepted responsibility for her actions today and she’s happy the process is over,” Mackatz said. “She is satisfied with three years probation and will be paying the restitution in full.”
North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi called the whole incident embarrassing, saying his office now has more oversight over school department spending.
“I can assure taxpayers that the lack of accountability has disappeared,” he said.
Morisseau took the helm of the school department in July 2017 and the questionable charges started soon after, according to court documents. In one case, an affidavit revealed she booked a hotel room using a personal Visa card but when it came time to pay the bill, the department MasterCard was swiped. There was no school function associated with the purchase, the affidavit noted.
Morisseau reportedly acknowledged that she needed to reimburse the town for personal charges when she was confronted by school department personnel, but she never made an effort to do until the case started making headlines.
The school committee eventually received three checks but didn’t cash them. Committee member Steven Andreozzi told Eyewitness News he and other members opposed accepting the checks, saying they were written for only a portion of the total amount Morisseau owed. He also expressed concern that she was making the payment in hopes of being exonerated.