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Criminal theft charges mount up against former FCHS AD Darren Handley

Charges against recently resigned Fayette County High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Darren A. Handley keep mounting up.

Handley now faces five charges of theft by taking in connection to approximately $10,000 stolen from several of the school’s athletic accounts and a separate charge brought by Senoia Police for felony theft by conversion of nearly $8,000 from a homeowners association in Senoia for which Handley was the former treasurer.

Handley, 48, was arrested June 25 on two counts of theft by taking in connection to funds stolen from several of the school’s athletic accounts. Fayetteville Police added three more counts late last week, bringing the total to five counts of theft by taking fiduciary in the amount of approximately $10,000, according to Det. Jeff Harris.

Det. Mike Whitlow said detectives received the case in early June when discrepancies were discovered in several athletic accounts for which Handley had responsibility.

“He was moving funds from one of the school-related accounts to the other,” Whitlow said of the activity that is thought to have taken place over the past two years. “He oversaw the athletic-related accounts and he moved money from some of those. Eventually, he ended up with the money.”

Harris on Monday said the investigation is ongoing, with subpoenas served on the records of area banks.

Senoia Det. Jason Ercole said on Tuesday investigators had meetings with Handley and his attorney, former Fayette Superior Court Judge Pascal English of Thomaston, in a matter related to improperly converted funds from the Springdale Property Owners Association bank account. Handley was a former resident of the Senoia subdivision and served for a time as treasurer.

“The fraud was detected when the most recently elected association president was unable to reach Mr. Handley for several months nor was the president able to gain access to the association’s bank account,” Ercole said. “The investigation revealed that beginning in late 2010 and over the course of approximately two and a half years, Mr. Handley embezzled nearly $8,000 from the association. Mr. Handley attempted to disguise the withdrawal transactions as money used for legitimate purposes for the S.P.O.A.” 

Ercole said investigators obtained a warrant for one count of felony theft by conversion. Handley turned himself in to the Coweta County Jail on Tuesday morning.

Handley tendered his resignation as athletic director and assistant principal in mid-June and it was accepted by the Fayette County Board of Education.


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