I-Team: Former Harvard Law Administrator Arraigned On Theft Charges From Disabilities Account

BOSTON (CBS) – A former Harvard Law administrator was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on Wednesday, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an account intended for students with disabilities.

Darris Saylors, 32, faces multiple counts of theft and forgery in connection with a financial scandal first reported by the WBZ I-Team on Monday.

According to court documents the I-Team obtained, Saylors and Meg DeMarco, 33, embezzled more than $110,000 of school funds and purchased dozens of laptops, iPads and other expensive electronics.

Darris Saylors in court (WBZ-TV)

Darris Saylors in court (WBZ-TV)

The police investigation also found Saylors made a long list of online purchases on Amazon, even using a credit card to buy sex toys. Court documents say she then tried to hide the transactions by changing the descriptions to things like “textbooks for disabilities accommodations.”

“It’s a real breach of trust,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan told the I-Team. “Obviously folks who needed that money didn’t have access to it.”

It is the second major embezzlement case Ryan’s office has prosecuted in recent years. When asked if Harvard had financial oversight issues, the DA said no business or agency is immune from those issues.

Darris Saylors outside court with WBZ-TV's Ryan Kath (WBZ-TV)

Darris Saylors outside court with WBZ-TV’s Ryan Kath (WBZ-TV)

“I think that is always something to be cautious about and something our office does a lot of work with other companies to make sure they are careful with security,” Ryan said.

A Harvard Law spokeswoman told the I-Team the school tightened procedures surrounding credit accounts and purchasing protocols after the incident.

Saylors, who now lives in Tennessee, was released on personal recognizance. She is due back in court on April 20.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan (WBZ-TV)

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan (WBZ-TV)

A spokesman at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga told the I-Team on Wednesday that Saylors resigned from her job.

Following the court appearance, Saylors declined to answer any of the I-Team’s questions.

DeMarco, who previously told the I-Team she “made mistakes” during her tenure at Harvard, is due in court for arraignment on April 5. She is on a “leave of absence” from her job at Babson College while officials there look into the situation.

Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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