Embezzler offers to pay back PTA 70 cents on the dollar

Our latest fiscal train wreck occurs in the state of Washington.

There are so many things wrong here. First of all, I wonder about the suspect’s situation. This isn’t the first instance I’ve seen of a military spouse being involved in a case like this–I think I’ve covered three. So there may be some larger issues at play, but first of all there’s the money, which is missing.  This was a very clumsy crime. Only one signature on PTA when there should be two, bank accounts gutted completely, and a very late call to police. Oh, yeah. Then she wants to shortchange the PTA on restitution.

From the Central Kitsap Reporter:

A local Navy wife stands accused of stealing more than $14,000 from the Clear Creek Elementary School Parent Teachers Association and leaving the organization’s savings account empty and the checking account overdrawn.

Authorities claim that Clear Creek PTA treasurer and Silverdale resident Michelle Eley, 30, wrote checks to herself and for cash totaling $14,627 without authorization to do so. Money was also spent through electronic checks written to companies such as Target.

Eley was booked into the Kitsap County Jail for theft in the first degree and later released without bail.

The president of the PTA first called the sheriff on Sept. 14 after returning for the start of the new school year to find the PTA accounts empty. Desiree Hartman told investigators that she first started to notice something was amiss at the end of the school year in June. Hartman said that Eley blamed the bank for making errors when confronted about the account balances.

According to Hartman and another PTA member, the checks should have required two signatures to be cashed. Investigators said only Eley signed the checks.

In a incident report prepared by the sheriff’s office, Hartman is listed as saying the $14,000 allegedly taken by Eley does not include any “cash deposits that may have been stolen or siphoned off” because no cash deposit slips can be found.

“Hartman said that Eley confessed to the PTA board that she stole $10,000 and that she knew it was wrong,” wrote Deputy Jeff Schaffer in a report on the the matter.

Schaffer said that Eley offered to pay back $10,000.

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