Sunday, February 2, 2014

Middleboro man found guilty of embezzling from school PTA

A 46-year-old man accused of embezzling from the elementary school PTA was found guilty Friday and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service as restitution.
Douglas A. Russell of 958 Center St. was convicted of embezzling more than $30,000. Authorities said the Russell and Sharon M. Ellis, 38, of 287 North Main St., who are both parents of Middleboro students, stole the money during a seven-year span when they were officers of the PTA.
Ellis pleaded guilty in July and was placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay back more than $18,000. Ellis was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, provide a DNA sample and ordered to stay away from fundraising efforts for the rest of her life.
Russell was placed on probation for five years and ordered to stay away from all school activities, other than those he must attend as a parent.
Assistant Plymouth County District Attorney Jessica Healy said Judge Don L. Carpenter heard from the victims and ordered Russell to perform community service, but did not order him to pay restitution.
School Superintendent Roseli S. Weiss said Russell is performing community service in lieu of restitution.
"My understanding is that it will be very difficult for him to do so," Weiss said.
Weiss said Russell is no longer welcome in the school environment, "other than to be a parent to his child. He hurt children and the parents who worked so hard to raise those funds."

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