Friday, February 08, 2008

Today's local paper - front page news... FINALLY

Copper Ridge PTO treasurer accused of stealing $200,000

A Scottsdale PTO treasurer was arrested on suspicion of stealing nearly $200,000 from the organization since 2005, Scottsdale police said Thursday.

Theresa Collins, 43, surrendered to police and was booked on charges of theft and released pending a court hearing.

Collins was treasurer for the Copper Ridge School Parent Teacher Organization. Police said she told them she had a problem with alcohol, but that she said she had enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Calls to Copper Ridge PTO board members were not returned.

Scottsdale Unified School District spokeswoman Marijke Van Fleet said the district and school are separate from the parent organization.

"We don't oversee PTO leadership or how they do their financings," Van Fleet said.

Police said that Collins told them that anyone who knows her would say that her actions were completely out of character.

Collins has made arrangements to pay back the PTO and already has returned an undisclosed amount, said police, who provided this sequence of events:

On Dec. 12, PTO co-presidents Cheryl Crone and Nina Hawkins, along with the principal and an assistant principal of Copper Ridge School, contacted a police officer concerning an error with the balance of the PTO bank account.

The next day, Crone and another PTO representative confronted Collins at a restaurant about the checks she had been writing to herself since February 2005.

Collins said that there were too many people who had access to the account, so she would write a check to herself and deposit it into her own bank account before transferring it to a third account at Wells Fargo Bank, with Copper Ridge PTO as the account holder.

Collins was supposed to deliver all PTO financial records and her laptop, but Crone never received them. This led to Collins' arrest and release Dec. 28.

The PTO initially wanted to have Collins criminally prosecuted but has since agreed to work out a civil agreement."

But wait... that last part bothers me. If it had been me, and I walked into someone's house and took 200,000$, you bet your tushie I'd be in prison right now.

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