PTA embezzlement alert: Last year’s treasurer–this year’s suspect

This one comes from Harry Truman’s hometown. Prosecutors say there were two sets of books and an unauthorized bank debit card involved.
Independence, MO — Mary A. Ward has been charged with felony theft/stealing of at least $500 from the Blue Hills Elementary School PTA account.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced the charges Wednesday against Ward, 31.

Ward left the position of treasurer of the Blue Hills PTA last summer, and the new treasurer reported to the PTA president that there was approximately a $22,000 discrepancy in the account.

Read more.  KCTV also has an account with video.


Stealing from Girl Scouts and PTA? That’s cold

Talk about a paper trail: Suspect wrote a check on the PTA account to pay back the Girl Scouts for the money she took.

From KSPR News: 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A woman from Springfield is accused of stealing funds from the Wanda Gray Elementary School Parent-Teacher Associationand Girl Scouts Troop 70472. Prosecutors charged Lyndsay Joy-Peck with two counts of stealing on Thursday after a four-week investigation by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

Joy-Peck was a leader for the troop and a vice president for the PTA. She has two children at Wanda Gray, which is south of Springfield at the corner of Plainview Road at Cox Road. The school’s web site shows the position of PTA vice president is now vacant.

Leaders of the PTA and Girl Scouts called the sheriff’s department in early April about missing funds. Probable cause statements used as the basis of the charges say Girl Scouts officials first confronted Joy-Peck last November. An audit by the Girl Scouts found Joy-Peck bought $2,566.16 worth of personal goods at several stores. An audit of PTA accounts found Joy-Peck spent $1,934.87 from that group for personal items.

A detective wrote in the probable cause statements that Joy-Peck repaid some of the funds to the Girl Scouts but still owes $609.94. After Girl Scouts officials confronted her, the probable cause statement says, she wrote checks to the Girl Scouts with a personal check and with a check from the PTA.

The detective interviewed Joy-Peck on April 6. He said she admitted what she did and said she did it because she didn’t want her husband to be mad about how much she was spending. She said, once the thefts started, things spiraled out of control.

“Joy-Peck stated she couldn’t give a real reason why she did it, but it was probably greed. She further advised it was a little of keeping up with the (Joneses),” the detective wrote.

Read more.

No treasurer, no money? PTA funds missing in Ohio

Dawn Douglass, presidenta of the Orchard Hill Elementary School PTA in North Canton, Ohio, told police this week that that $3,351 of the organization’s money has gone missing.
The local paper reports:

“They were working through treasury reports at their regular meetings, and they couldn’t get reconciliation,” (City School Superintendent Mike Gallina) said. “They started to go back through and said this doesn’t make any sense.”Hoping the discrepancies were due to merely an error, school district officials suggested that the PTA hire an accountant to audit its books, Gallina said. He wasn’t sure if it had done so.

Complicating matters, the PTA has been operating without a treasurer. The PTA’s last treasurer stepped down around Christmas in frustration, Gallina said. He said he didn’t know why.

I bet a lot of folks in North Canton are guessing why. Read more.

PTA embezzlement: “You wouldn’t think this would happen”

I would.

And she faces such a heavy, heavy penalty.

This one’s from New Jersey:

ROSELLE PARK — A Roselle Park woman has admitted stealing more than $8,000 from the local Parent Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Barnes said.

Jamie Amato, 41, pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Elizabeth Thursday to taking $8,659 from the Robert Gordon Elementary School PTA account last year.

This amounted to nearly a third of the PTA’s annual budgetm and Amato gets off with probation if she pays back the money. Otherwise, she has to serve a whopping 90 days in jail.

Money quote: “You wouldn’t think this would happen but everybody’s a volunteer,” (the PTA president) said. “The people you work with are your friends but you just never know.”

Read more.

Wave of reported PTA crime continues

I’m having a hard time keep up with all the allegations of dishonesty.

The North Country Gazette (New York) reoirts this local larccny:

NASSAU COUNTY—An Oceanside woman has been arrested and charged with grand larceny after prosecutors say she stole approximately $5,000 from an elementary school Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

Cindy Sommer-Fleisig, 44, was arrested Thursday morning by DA investigators and charged with third degree grand larceny. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said that between November 2010 and August 2011, Sommer-Fleisig stole approximately $5,000 from the Oceanside Elementary School #8 PTA, including funds that were intended to be spent towards a retirement party for the outgoing school principal.

Sommer-Fleisig, a member of the PTA who helped handle fundraising and membership services for the organization, also received check reimbursements for items she claimed to have purchased but never did, including New York Knicks tickets, office supplies, and school awards, according to prosecutors.

Read more.


“She played us all”

Things aren’t so sunny in Sunnyvale these days. PTA treasurer Dawn Saugen at Vargas Elementary School has been arrested and charged with embezzlement and forgery. She’s accused of stealing $21,000 from the organization’s account and using the money to buy gift cards for herself. Other PTA officials reported their suspicions when they noticed the bank account was overdrawn–just after the Silent Auction had been held.

The alleged crime is especially galling because many of the students who attend Vargas are from low-income families.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

“She played us all,” said Karen Fruin, a parent at the school who was angry about the suspected embezzlement. She pointed out that most students from Vargas come from poor families. “We have such financial hardships that we look forward to any money that we can make.”

And to make matters worse,

It was the second case of missing money discovered this year in Sunnyvale schools. In January, Sunnyvale officers arrested a parent who had controlled the treasury of the Ellis Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. Deanna Lynch, 30, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $16,000 in PTO funds.

Read more.