Another PTA embezzler sentenced to jail

Don’t try this at home.

From the Roanoke (Virginia) Times:

Despite repaying the almost $25,000 she stole and reading a tearful apology to Cave Spring Elementary School in court, Melissa Brown Neal earned a sentence of six months in jail for embezzling and forging checks from the school’s PTA.

Neal, 38, was sentenced Monday in Roanoke County Circuit Court to four years for two felony convictions of forgery and eight years for two felony convictions of embezzlement. Judge Jim Swanson suspended all but 180 days in jail and four years probation from that 12-year sentence. Neal will learn next week whether she will be eligible to serve the 180 days on house arrest, which would allow her to continue to work.

Neal’s attorney, Tony Anderson, had asked the judge not to send her to jail because she had repaid the group in full and given back to the community.

“Once all this came to light, you did everything right,” Swanson told Neal before stating her sentence. “It doesn’t erase that what you did occurred, what you did was wrong, what you did was recurrent.”

Swanson added that he sentenced her to jail because of the message it would send back to the teachers, students and families who know about the situation and had supported the PTA.

Neal, a mother and accountant, was the group’s volunteer treasurer since 2006. During the 2009-2010 school year she wrote checks to herself and signed the name of the PTA president, according to court documents.

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