Take her away: New York PTA embezzler sentenced

From the Poughkeepsie Journal:

A Town of Poughkeepsie (New York) woman who stole more than $3,000 while serving as treasurer of a local school PTA will spend the next four months in jail for the crime.

Melissa Chapman, 37, of Star Farm Way sobbed Wednesday morning as she was led out of a fourth-floor courtroom in the Dutchess County Courthouse after her sentencing.

Chapman admitted last month that she had embezzled $3,200 from the Cold Spring Elementary School PTA in Stanfordville while she was the group’s treasurer in 2009 and 2010. She entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, a felony.

Chapman brushed aside tears as she told Judge Stephen L. Greller she was sorry for what she did.

“I feel absolutely horrible … I feel sorry for the children I stole from, and it’s affecting my family,” she said. “My kids are being judged for what I did.”

Senior Assistant District  Attorney Edward McLoughlin said Cold Spring PTA members and school officials had told him they were glad Chapman had been convicted of a felony and was being held accountable for her crime.

McLoughlin said school officials  were not asking Greller to send Chapman to jail, but Greller said he believed she deserved some time behind bars.

“You stole, essentially , from kids, and you did it over an extended period of time — this crime took a level of sophistication,” the judge told Chapman.

“You need some time of incarceration,” Greller said. “I need to send a message to those who are in charge of money that is entrusted to them, and you violated that trust.”

The judge then sentenced Chapman to four months in jail, placed her on probation for five years and ordered her to pay back the money she stole.

As Greller spoke, Chapman sobbed loudly and pleaded with him to reconsider the jail term.

But Greller told sheriff’s deputies to escort Chapman from the courtroom.


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