Question: If, when, and how to share information about fraud

One of our PTO's officers is being charged with embezzling funds from the PTO account. We are working with a pro bono attorney and at this point recommends that we do not communicate this to our community. Anyone who has gone through this before have advice on when/if to share with community? At this point we will not say anything, but what information do we owe the community especially in terms of the missing money? We want to be transparent, but cautious about what we share. Thanks!

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
You should notify the principal of what is happening. Also, while I can understand the impulse to be as low key as possible, you should notify your parent community when you have the basic facts. They will want to know -- it is their money that is involved. We aren't suggesting a big announcement, and it is ok to share just what you know and tell people that you can't answer questions that you don't have the answers to. But, try to notify parents before school starts, if possible. What you want to avoid is kicking off your school year with rumors swirling around and parents angry at you for not disclosing information. You now have the opportunity to manage how this information is released; you don't want to get caught in a reactive mode.

Community Advice

bebe writes:
Rose is correct. My PTO was involved in an embezzlement scandal and we weren't even able to figure out what to do before it was on the evening news.

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