Friday, January 31, 2014
A substantial amount of money has turned up missing from the Dubose Middle School PTSA.
According to a Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office incident report, School Accountant Gina Austin noticed a discrepancy in deposits made on behalf of the school PTSA and reported it to school Principal Christie O’Rear, who notified police.
A total of six deposits never made it to the bank totaling $5,498.75 in checks and cash. The PTSA treasurer and two members had signed as taking custody of the monies for deposit on certain dates, but that may not accurately reflect who was responsible for making the actual deposits, according to the report.
The six unaccounted for deposits were for October – $1072.75; November – $480; and four in December – $975, $1119, $987 and $ $865.
The checks that were in those deposits have not cleared their respective bank accounts.
The First Federal Bank records, where the PTSA account is, show copies of deposits received of which some left the school and were held for almost a month before being deposited.
One PTSA member admitted she had failed to make deposits on time but was adamant that she made most deposits after school or around midnight when she picked her husband up from work.
The accountant told police she receives monthly statements but thought that because deposits were not made in a timely manner the statements might not reflect deposits still being held by PTSA members.
The deputy says he spoke with the PTSA head, Deeann Farrell, who told him she did not wish to pursue the investigation because she thought it was a clerical error and the money would be located. The deputy reported the request as well as the incident to his superiors.
According to Pat Raynor, DD2 PIO, the district was notified of the issue and is taking it very seriously. “When the discrepancies with the deposits came to light it was reported to DD2 and an internal audit was conducted. Our auditor visited the school and verified some points. Mike Turner, our head of security has reported this to the bonding company. The bonding company will now investigate, working with the police.”
According to Raynor, the national PTA requires fidelity bonds for all PTA board members. She noted that AIM is the bonding company and said they will conduct a careful investigation and determine if it was sloppiness or criminal and if there would be charges pursued. The bond company could also reimburse the PTSA depending on the outcome of its investigation.
“This is being handled appropriately, according to our procedures,” noted Raynor Jan. 28.
In charge of security for the district, Turner was brought into the investigation to coordinate between the DCSO, the bonding company and the district.
Raynor said that “AIM has assigned a claims adjuster to the case. The claims adjuster will take the internal audit which supplies the crucial paper trail, and investigate. Then AIM will determine if the issue is poor record keeping, embezzlement, or what it is.”
“The paper trail was key, that’s why the internal audit was so important. Once the audit verified that something was amiss, AIM was given the results. AIM is not yet at the stage of its investigation where it is ready to contact the sheriff’s office,” said Raynor.