Saturday, March 7, 2015

Embezzlement investigation snares Fortville PTO officer

The PTO treasurer at Fortville Elementary School has been asked to step aside as the organization launches an investigation into its finances.
The former treasurer, 39-year-old Marcy Smitley, is accused of stealing more than $120,000 from a homeowners association she managed on the south side of Indianapolis. Smitley faces 21 felony counts, including theft and forgery, Fox59 reports.
She's also served as PTO treasurer for two school years, according to the PTO president. However, the district said they've seen no signs of theft from the PTO account.
"My reaction was just amazement. I was shocked," said William Riggs, superintendent of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation. "She's done a good job of being a volunteer."
Riggs said the district got tipped off by a local paper.
Marion County prosecutors said Smitley took approximately $127,983 from the homeowners association at the Windslow Crossing condominium complex on the south side from 2009 to 2014. Smitley was working as a manager of that HOA, collecting dues, paying bills, and getting bids for various jobs on the property, according to a board member.
Investigators said she wrote unauthorized checks to her own management company. By May of last year, HOA leaders were suspicious and found the alleged fraud.
Smitley was booked in jail and bonded out last week. That's when the school got wind of the charges.
"That's something that they'll go through their receipts and their revenues and take a look at, but there's nothing I'm aware of that's inappropriate at this point," said Riggs.
Riggs said PTO funds are separate from school funds. The accounts typically don't carry large balances, no more than $5,000, and money from fundraisers is quickly reinvested in the school.
Still, PTO President Mary Jo Adams told us by phone that they are reviewing every transaction to make sure no money in their account is missing. She anticipates their preliminary investigation will be complete next week.
We went to Smitley's home for comment, but nobody answered the door.

Woman charged with embezzling from E.L. preschool

The former director of an East Lansing preschool has been charged with embezzling from the school.

Michele Lynn Mund, 36, of Laingsburg, was arraigned Monday in 54B District Court on multiple charges. She is the former director of the Eastminster Child Development Center.

Mund is charged with two counts of uttering and publishing, which generally refers to bouncing checks; one count of embezzlement of between $20,000 and $50,000; and one count of embezzling from a nonprofit.

The main embezzlement charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $15,000 fine or both.

She is free on a $10,000 bond.

Eastminster board of directors chair Kim Kovalchick confirmed that Mund served as the center's director from March 2009 until her resignation on Aug. 5, 2014.

A letter sent to parents Monday said "some concerns" came to the board's attention regarding a few "specific Center expenses." Kovalchick declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. Eastminster officials contacted East Lansing police in August 2014, Detective Lt. Scott Wrigglesworth said in a news release.

"The Board took immediate action," the letter continues, "by securing our financial accounts and communicating with our bank, financial auditors, and insurance company.

"Following the recommendations made by these professionals, the Board agreed to share documents with the auditors, insurance company and the East Lansing Police Department regarding the possible misuse of funds by a previous employee of the Center."

Kovalchick said a third-party audit spanning the previous year uncovered the issues, and that no irregularities were found in prior years' audits.

"The full extent of the issues were not discovered until after her resignation," Kovalchick said.

Wrigglesworth said the embezzlement took place over a period "in excess" of two years.

A preliminary hearing, which determines if there is enough evidence for a trial, is set for March 19 before Judge Richard Ball.

Nicholas Leydorf, Mund's attorney, declined comment when reached by phone.