St. Louis Community College officials have sued a longtime employee who they contend embezzled at least $5.4 million from the school.

The college also suspended the man without pay after finding the money was missing and turned over its records to law enforcement.

The college alleges the man took the funds, which were allocated for a job-training program, over the course of at least 10 years. In its lawsuit, the college is seeking to have the funds returned and is asking the court to freeze the man’s bank accounts.

He had been an employee of the college since 1992 and had managed the Workforce Solutions Group on campus for at least a decade. The mission of his program was to oversee economic development, training and consulting, and it is funded by the Missouri Community New Jobs Training Fund.

The campus chancellor alleged the man launched a phony company, sent the missing money to company accounts and used it for his own expenses.

“It’s been going on at least 10 years and may have been going on even longer,” the chancellor told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He had diverted funds from that group into this fictitious company, outside of the college’s financial control.”

The chancellor said an employee recently reported “financial irregularities” to college administrators, who have hired an accounting firm to audit the books and track the money.

This man could be facing serious legal charges should police find enough evidence to charge him with a crime. He should be proactive and seek legal advice as soon as possible. Not only is his career at stake but so is his freedom.