Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen from PTA funds of an Atlanta elementary school and the PTA president says a parent diverted the funds.
“Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen from the PTA and school foundation at E. Rivers Elementary School in Buckhead, Atlanta police confirmed Tuesday. So far, there has been no arrest.”
“Though PTA leaders told parents at a Tuesday night meeting that nearly $54,000 had been recovered, they declined to put a dollar amount on the amount on the alleged theft, citing the ongoing investigation.”
“It is one of our parents,” PTA Co-President Elise Lowry said during the meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church, across Peachtree Road from the school.
“Lowry alerted Atlanta police to the missing money on March 7, according to an incident report obtained by the AJC. Lowry reported that an account audit by the PTA discovered missing check payments from Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.”
“Lowry told police that she confirmed checks in excess of $20,000 were deposited into a bank account at Signature Bank, and that a person suspected in the theft worked at the bank, according to the incident report.”
” ‘The money was never taken from our account. It was intercepted before it ever got to us,’ Lowry said at the Tuesday night meeting.”
“The amount of money missing from the school’s account apparently has grown since the initial report. A budget distributed at the PTA meeting showed $53,821.19 has been recovered.”
“Attorney Steven Dunlevie, a spokesman for Signature Bank, would only say that the individual in question worked at the bank from March 1, 1995, to April 9, 2012. Dunlevie, with the Womble Carlyle firm, would not comment on why the person left the bank.”
“A letter sent home to parents Tuesday regarding the theft, read, in part: “The PTA and The E. Rivers Education Foundation (EREF) have uncovered a situation involving theft of funds; an individual with approved access to our financial information diverted funds from some of our parents and partner organizations that were intended to go to the school, the PTA or EREF. ”
“The letter went on the say, “We are working very closely with the authorities and an attorney to address the situation and to recover the missing funds. ”
“Molly Epstein, a parent and a spokeswoman for the PTA at the school, at 8 Peachtree Battle Ave., said Tuesday night that the person believed responsible for depositing funds into a different account was someone parents had trusted with the school’s finances.”
“Epstein said parents at all schools need to make sure checks written for school causes make it to the right bank account.”
“We are hopeful that there will be an arrest” in the E. Rivers investigation, Epstein said.
I know times are tough but I’m still surprised by parents stealing from their kids’ PTA funds. How did they think someone would not notice that much money missing?
I’ve heard stories about room moms diverting funds but that is far less money and also a much less formal process for check and balances. Sometimes there is only one room mom who knows how much is collected.
I know our old school would hand out at PTA meetings a record of money coming and going out. The budgeting seemed like a fairly transparent process.
I’m not sure what they do at our current school to show the parents they are keeping track.
This sounds like this was more of a bank problem than a PTA problem. It sounds like the person just happen to work there and be associated with the school.
How does your keep their PTA books clean? Are other officers checking on the treasure’s work? Should the checks and balances be from outside the PTA? Should it be from the school administrators? Should some of the funds be used for outside accountants to verify the funds are being handled properly?
How can PTA’s prevent money/checks/cash from being diverted?