Former PTA Treasurer Charged With Embezzlement

An investigation into financial records reveal malfeasance.

by Michael Solomon, Editor-in-Chief

In April of 2016, former Montgomery County Council of PTA’s President Paul Geller noticed that dozens of checks had gone missing from the Montgomery County PTA organization, and filed a report to the police. Internal auditors found $39,015 in funds that were disbursed without proper authorization. After a long and meticulous investigation of the organization’s financial records, which began in the summer of 2016, law enforcement found that a former treasurer within the organization had been withdrawing funds for personal uses.

 

The treasurer, 45 year-old Lisa Betts, reached a guilty plea deal with prosecutors this week, according to court records. Betts is expected to plead guilty on November 17th, the date of her trial, but the deal will not be final until it is approved by a judge, meaning that she can still back out of it if she chooses.

 

State guidelines say that Betts should receive a minimum sentence of probation to six months in jail but because these laws are somewhat loose a much harsher sentence with more jail time could be handed down instead.

 

According to Lynne Harris, the president of the Montgomery County PTA, Lisa Betts allegedly told the police that she had used the money to repay two previous thefts from other PTA’s.

 

Harris said in a message to PTA board members last Thursday that “Ms. Betts’ claim is that the funds stolen from [the countywide PTA] were used to cover her theft from two local PTAs at which she served as president and treasurer.”

 

Harris also reported that $10,000 of the original $39,015 was returned before the investigation officially began leaving the organization with a net loss of $29,015 which Betts has said she intends to repay.

 

Betts, a Silver Spring resident, also served as a PTA officer at Greencastle Elementary School and Benjamin Banneker Middle School, which are both located in the Silver Spring-Burtonsville area.

 

The spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, Ramon Korionoff, said to the media that more details would be provided on November 17, when the case officially goes to trial.

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing story and will be updated as details become known or new events unfold.