Question: suspected embezzlement

How would I go about finding out who is responsible for the money missing from our PTO? I believe it is mostly cash and we are talking a LOT of money from one year to the next over a two year period. The DA said it is hard to prove if it is cash. The way I look at it is right now I am the only one who knows how much money is missing. I have run it for many years and we always profited several thousand in a two day period, but since principal has been running acct. the amount profited had decreased by around 7000 each of the last two years. Has anyone out there had this issue? If so how did you resolve this issue? Thanks

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

nmoran24 writes:
I think our organization went through something similar a couple years ago, and I don't think anyone was found guilty, but what was done to have this never happen again was that for every single transaction at least 2 people had to be present, witnesses witnesses witnesses!! Giving a deposit to the treasurer is not enough, you need someone next to you as a witness. Another thing that was not right was that 3 or 4 ladies where able to write checks for whatever and the new vice-president personally went with the treasurer to the bank and removed everyone from the account. Every single check written is ran by the board and we all agree as to if its acceptable.... Sometimes it gets to be a pain but things are working out great.... and having those guidelines in hand or on a bulletin board have helped with whoever comes in new, that we do things the right way and we're expecting transparent acts from everyone.

Community Advice

firefighter464 writes:
You got the reply you really need for your organization but I will reply to your comments, “I am the only one who knows how much money is missing….Has anyone out there had this issue? If so how did you resolve this issue?”

Yes, I was in a similar position in our PTO, so I will offer you a word of warning: those who are not above taking money that doesn’t belong to them are not above doing all sorts of horrible things to you if you make it known what they did. My advice is first and foremost, do not go it alone, do not bring up the subject except in ways that are very very public and personal (no e-mail, no phone calls, no social media, but instead public face-to-face meetings) very very backed up by others who will help you and armed with the knowledge you need to succeed. Stand strong, do what you feel is right for you (and sometimes letting it pass is right for the sake of your family after you read what I have to say.)

Rose C. may chastize me for my lengthiness, but this is absolutely necessary for you to understand in situations like this and I will repeat the message as many times as it needs repeating to help those who will fight for accountability in PTO. PTO needs to be open and inviting and honest and fun for everyone or it is useless.

That means:

1. Have your facts collected. (And from what you wrote it seems you have few printed facts, just guesses based upon past performance? If so, you need harder evidence of income and remaining balances).
2. Raise a motion in meeting to look at the issue of your facts. Have someone ready to second your motion and enough on your side to vote it in.
3. Also raise a motion that if those who are in charge are the ones you need to look at for this issue then they need to step down at least temporarily from leading the meeting.
4. Don’t let those in charge bully you. If they try to limit debate and how long you can speak, remember your rights in Roberts Rules that must be raised as a motion and seconded and voted upon. They can’t just arbitrarily do it to silence you.
5. If they deny having their own facts at that meeting (they’re at home), be prepared to adjourn for an hour for them to go fetch those facts. Better yet, offer to go with them to go find them. Or give them a specific time frame (next day) to come up with those facts. Even that, though, is too long a leash for them to round up hate mongers for their side against you, because experience tells me, that will happen asap.
6. Final word of advice: Watch your back. It’s absolutely amazing how vicious and personal folks will get to cover up their wrong doing: Look out for them retaliating against you, whether it be they will accuse you of taking the funds (they did me, but I had facts to prove otherwise) or spread malicious slander and destroy your personal relationships (they did my whole family, but you just have to ignore the childishness and move on), bring other false accusations against you (I was accused of harassment simply because I stood up for the truth and later even had criminal charges lobbed at me with a police chief threatening to throw me into jail and costs for defense lawyers all because I accidentally saw the person for a second as we came around a blind corner. A judge immediately tossed it out for no probable cause and now that police chief has been fired for other reasons.) So there is hope.

Community Advice

cajunmsgirl writes:
Thank you sweetie n it has already started. The talking negative bout me and my treasurer to the bank. Problem with that is she was the only one who signed on the checks and the one responsible for putting the money in the bank since I was attending college full time. She has a lot of explaining to do. I am tellling parents i know about what i found but I really need to notify both teachers and parents so they know what is going on I'm just not sure how to do that.

Community Advice

firefighter464 writes:
Oh, my. It's amazing, isn't it? So sad. Do they remember the kids in all this mess?

Take my advice. Get a lawyer, sooner rather than later.

And a carefully worded letter to the editor of the local paper ought to reach your general public (teachers and parents) well (but of course opens yourself up to more personal attacks and hate mongering). Keep it brief and to the point, to avoid editor editing. And run it past your lawyer first to be sure you've said 'alleged' embezzlement enough to cover yourself legally.

I will tell you, the fight is not worth it AT ALL if you are in this alone.

Just fight to put the accountability in place and see what has already happened as 'lesson learned.' It takes willpower and patience but you are fighting against putting a black mark reputation onto your PTO. Again, the focus has to be lets make this a positive experience for all and for the kids. Look at it this way: if the alleged thieves were of good moral character they'd admit wrongdoing, pay the money back, put accountability in place and move on to the kids' projects again. That ain't gonna happen. You and I both know that. ("Cause it goes without saying that they aren't of good moral character, to begin with if they are--alleged--thieves....) It'll be a long drawn-out battle that'll put a halt to good stuff getting done w/ the kids...

Community Advice

cajunmsgirl writes:
Our new PTO committee is in place now and starting new, no more money going through the office, hopefully , I have warned them. My friend and I that were the last officers are hiring an Accountant to look it all over. I was thinking about calling a meeting of all school teachers and office staff to clear the air of what i have found and let someone speak up or face an investigation into this. I am going to call the states attorney general and get his opinion on this matter also. Thanks

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