Monday, June 24, 2013

Former PTO member sentenced to jail for embezzlement in Michigan

The former treasurer of the Reading Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) was sentenced to 30 days in jail for embezzling money from the organization's funds.
Valerie Jane Studnicka, 47 was sentenced in Hillsdale County District Court Wednesday by Judge Donald Sanderson, but was granted some leeway with the sentencing.
Sanderson suspended half the sentence on the grounds that Studnicka completes the terms of her probation over the next year. Restitution in the case of $2,700 has been paid by Studnicka and the fines and costs assessed will be paid shortly.
Studnicka was arrested on May 11 after it was discovered she had seven checks using the PTO's account to herself, including a $1,970 check used to pay her mortgage. Some of the checks may have been for legitimate payments owed to her by the organization, but others were suspicious, according to Hillsdale County Prosecutor Neal Brady.
"You were placed in a position of trust," Sanderson said. "Athough there was some sort of explanation, there were seven checks written and that suggests it wasn't just a mistake."
Studnicka's lawyer, Benjamin Dajos of Coldwater, said there was some confusion on his client's part because both her checkbook and the PTO's were the same make and model. Sanderson said he understood, but if a mistake was made, it should have been caught and corrected the first time, not after seven checks.
Studnicka was given time to work out the details of the remaining jail time and has been given credit for one day served, meaning she will serve 14 days in jail if she completes her probation.

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