A parent volunteer with the Sunnyside School District is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the PTA. The woman went before a judge Monday afternoon, facing embezzlement charges.
39 year old Andrea Monelle Gatica is believed to have been stealing money from the PTA for over a year long span.
Gatica is accused of stealing more than $5,000 from the Sun Valley Elementary School PTA starting in 2012. Gatica was the PTA's president, but resigned in 2013, at which point the school district reviewed finances, finding more than $35,000 were unaccounted for.
When questioned by police Gatica admitted to spending $3,000 to pay for bills and food, something the school district was not pleased to find out.
"I would say we were surprised and disappointed," Superintendent Rick Cole said, "But I think it's important to distinguish that this is not a school program, it's a school booster club that ran itself independently of the school district."
During the investigation in 2014 Gatica changed her story and told police she was protecting her daughter, who allegedly stole an additional $1,700. In addition police found that Gatica had used the PTA credit card at various restaurants and gas stations over the course of that year.
She's currently facing charges of first degree theft, if convicted she could face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.