Authorities have indicted a former Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) treasurer after Tennessee Comptrollers said she stole nearly $23,000.
That former treasurer, Jennifer Letner, served at Tellico Plains Elementary School, according to a press release that Tennessee Comptrollers published this week.
“Letner served as treasurer during the 2018-2019 school year,” according to the press release.
“During that time, she stole at least $22,932. She admitted to investigators that she was experiencing financial difficulties and used PTO funds to pay personal living expenses.”
According to the Comptrollers’ investigative report, Letner employed at least five schemes to misappropriate PTO funds for her own benefit:
• Letner used the PTO debit card on at least 48 occasions to make personal purchases totaling at least $6,789. These purchases included payments for automobile loans, mobile phone service, purchases of birthday party supplies, and other personal items.
• Letner made 10 unauthorized over-the-counter cash withdrawals totaling $5,701 from the PTO account.
• Letner wrote and cashed PTO checks totaling $4,655 payable to her husband or herself. She signed the PTO president’s name on at least eight of the unauthorized checks.
• Letner used a PTO debit card to make 23 ATM cash withdrawals totaling at least $3,508.
• Letner wrote and cashed three PTO checks payable to cash totaling $2,279.
“Additionally, investigators are questioning $661 in unsupported disbursements from the PTO’s bank account. These purchases were not documented with itemized receipts or invoices, and investigators could not conclusively determine if they were exclusively for the benefit of the PTO,” Comptrollers said in the press release.
Members of the Monroe County Grand Jury this month indicted Letner on one count of theft more than $10,000, according to the press release.
Comptroller Jason Mumpower said in the press release that “the treasurer was the only one who had access to the PTO bank account statements, and the PTO did not require two signatures on checks.”
“These are just two examples of controls that can help prevent or detect fraudulent activity,” Mumpower said.
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