“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.

Another PTA embezzlement story

This one from Los Angeles has been hanging around a while, and it’s not the only one in La-La land, but it’s a significant amount of money, and the culprit has to pay it back. She was also sentenced to two years in prison. A hundred grand is a lot of license plates.

From the LA Times:

A former Los Angeles Unified School District administrative assistant who admitted stealing money from a Torrance elementary school and PTA funds was ordered Wednesday to pay more than $116,000 in restitution.

Lisa Ann Castro, 47, was ordered by a Superior Court judge to pay $93,400 to the LAUSD and $23,000 to Halldale Elementary School in Torrance, where she worked, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

She pleaded guilty in February to one count of misappropriating public funds.

Prosecutors said Castro stole money from the PTA account and two other school accounts, in part by forging signatures on more than 100 checks.