Former University Place PTA treasurer charged with theft

The former treasurer of a University Place elementary school PTA is charged with eight felonies, including first-degree theft and forgery, for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 from the organization, court records show.

Alison Jo Woods, 45, has been summoned to Pierce County Superior Court for arraignment next month.

Detectives believe Woods wrote 21 checks to herself from the Sunset Elementary School PTA accounts when she was treasurer from September 2012 to September 2013. The checks ranged from $100 to $2,178, court records show.

“Police found that the defendant was cashing the PTA checks she wrote to herself into her bank accounts,” deputy prosecutor Scott Peters wrote in a declaration for probable cause. “She would then funnel the money from her account into her husband’s account, and the money would be used on family expenses.”

When questioned by a detective this summer, Woods allegedly said she’d kept the PTA computer at her home where other people in her family might have accessed it, court records show.

“The deputy then asked who would print checks in the defendant’s name, deposit them into her account, transfer them to her husband’s account and then spend them,” court records show. “The defendant said anyone could have done that.”

PTA officials realized something was amiss in July when a new board president was elected and noticed problems with the accounts, the court records show.

“She talked with the defendant on Aug. 22, 2013 about the PTA account,” Peters wrote in his declaration. “The defendant told her that a group of checks had been lost.”

Investigation later revealed Woods allegedly had forged the names of of PTA officials on some checks and arranged for her mother-in-law to give the organization a $5,000 loan “to keep the PTA afloat,” the record show.

“The defendant had claimed a student had stolen the PTA fundraising money, but no one called police,” Peters wrote in his declaration.

PTA officials later discovered the group’s account was overdrawn, and an insurance policy the PTA carried had lapsed for lack of payment, the records show.

Woods resigned as treasurer that September.