Crime

Suspected embezzlements being investigated at two PTAs in Tacoma

Two PTAs associated with Tacoma Public Schools are missing thousands of dollars, and police have opened investigations into possible embezzlement.

Tacoma police are looking into allegations that a former secretary of the PTA at Sherman Elementary School stole about $9,700.

Also being investigated is a former member of the PTA at Whittier Elementary School in Fircrest. In that case, about $8,500 reportedly went missing in recent months.

The News Tribune is not naming the two women being investigated because neither has been charged with a crime.

Members of the Sherman PTA realized the funds were missing in November and did an audit in February. The PTA sent a certified letter to the 33-year-old former secretary, asking her to repay the missing money, but she is said to have asked for more time.

The woman was arrested on an unrelated warrant in March. Charges have yet to be filed on the embezzlement allegations.

Angela Wick, who was PTA president when suspicions arose, said insurance reimbursed the missing funds, so there was no effect to the children.

The feelings of shock and betrayal linger, though.

“I’m not going to say it’s made us stronger, but it’s made everybody more aware,” Wick said. “People want to be involved because they want to make sure we’re there for the kids. We all felt betrayed. It was a horrible thing.”

It is not the first time the woman has run into trouble with the law. She pleaded guilty in October 2004 to first-degree identity theft and second-degree theft.

According to court records, she and her family rented a Steilacoom home from a soldier and intercepted a credit card sent to the man after he moved. The woman racked up more than $1,500 in charges. .

Renton and Kent police are investigating allegations concerning the former Whittier PTA official because withdrawals from the PTA fund were made in those cities.

The investigation is ongoing and the case has not yet been sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

“We do have an open case on that,” Renton police detective Robert Onishi said.

The News Tribune was unable to reach officials with the Whittier PTA.

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