Woman agrees to repay money she stole from elementary school PTA over the past decade - East Idaho News

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Woman agrees to repay money she stole from elementary school PTA over the past decade

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POCATELLO — The former treasurer for a local elementary school Parent Teacher Association has agreed to repay $32,653.61 police say she stole over the course of nine years.

Laree Packard, 51, will not face criminal charges if she pays the amount in full by the court-ordered deadline.

Pocatello police spoke with members of the Edahow Elementary School faculty and Parent Teacher Association regarding a theft on March 17, 2022, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Three witnesses told officers the Parent Teacher Association had undergone recent changes. In doing so, the association’s president called its previous treasurer, Packard, to determine how much money was in its account.

The association president said they believed the amount they were given was low, the affidavit says.

After going through six years of receipts and documents, the trio determined the account was short around $22,000.

The officer suggested the group contact a forensic accountant to have a review of the account completed. An accountant agreed to review the account free of charge, due to the association’s lack of funds.

On April 20, 2022, the association president called a Pocatello detective to inform them a forensic review of the account had been completed. The witness provided the detective with a “spreadsheet of the theft,” according to the affidavit.

The audit showed numerous “discrepancies,” including unauthorized cash withdrawals, store purchases and check cashes over a longer period of time than initially suspected. The audit show over $32,000 in missing funds.

Among the fraudulent purchases listed in police reports was an association check payment for Packard home mortgage. The association president told the detective there would have been no reason for any personal use from the account.

Through a multi-year, multi-agency investigation — which included assistance from the National White Collar Crime Center — detectives determined Packard made numerous fraudulent transactions, beginning in 2015.

She was initially charged with six felonies — three counts of grand theft and three counts of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card. Those charges were dismissed after an agreement was reached in which Packard was ordered to repay the amount stolen in full by April 24.

If Packard does repay the amount by within the court-ordered window, the prosecution has agreed not to pursue any further charges or penalties, according to the agreement.

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