Former president of school's PTO facing theft charges

Parent-Teacher Organizations are prevalent at many schools throughout Tennessee and all across the country. The volunteers often work together to raise funds for school improvements, teacher appreciation or student programs. One former PTO president was recently arrested and accused of theft from her school's organization in East Tennessee.

Authorities report that a 48-year-old Johnson City woman was arrested after claims she stole over $9,500 from the Ridgeview Elementary School's Parent-Teacher Organization. The alleged theft was said to have taken place between 2015 and 2017.Officials from the Tennessee Comptroller's Office reported that they discovered that unauthorized checks from the PTO were written payable to cash. In addition, they stated that the woman made counter cash withdrawals at a financial institution.

Law enforcement officials from the Washington County's Sheriff's Office were made aware of the missing funds in Aug. 2017, when the PTO account had been reviewed. Apparently, the supposed misappropriated funds were used for a variety of personal purchases. Reports state that the woman bought a swimming pool mat and cigarettes, among other items.

Evidently, one of the woman's relatives gave a $10,000 check to the school's PTO, stating that they didn't think she could make it if she had to go to jail. Officials kept that check as evidence in the case. Authorities also content that she concealed her actions by not submitting bank statements and other documentation to other PTO officers. The organization has since taken actions to separate financial responsibilities among its officers, requiring dual authorization on transactions.

There are many classifications of theft in the state of Tennessee, ranging from petty theft to grand larceny, depending on the value of the stolen items. The charges, whether classified as misdemeanors or felonies, carry with them a variety of potential penalties, such as fines and jail sentences. A Tennessee criminal defense attorney can help someone defend themselves against these charges. A strong defense team can help minimize the negative impact to a client's life.

Source: wjhl.com, "Ridgeview Elementary PTO president indicted, arrested on theft", March 12, 2018

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