School Closings And Delays

PTO Treasurer Charged with Theft, Forgery for Allegedly Stealing Funds from Organization

BLOOMSBURG -- The treasurer of a Parent Teacher Organization at a school in Bloomsburg is accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from the group.

Kristi Duane of Bloomsburg was charged Monday morning with theft and forgery. She's accused of stealing $49,624.67 from the Parent Teacher Organization at Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School.

At a Little League game, parents and elementary school students were stunned.

“I don't know. That's shocking,” said parent Tanya Witkowski. “Taking from the kids, that's not right at all.”

“I don't get why you would do that,” said Witkowski's son, Liam, a fifth grader at Memorial. “I mean, it's a school. You're a grown up. You're supposed to be setting a good example for the kids.”

According to court papers, Duane became treasurer of that PTO in 2013.

This past May, the president of the organization contacted Bloomsburg police, saying several thousands of dollars were missing from their account.

The PTO president told police she confronted Duane about it, and that Duane admitted taking the money over the past five years by writing checks to herself and by signing the president's name on them.

“If it goes five years, there weren't any checks and balances,” said grandparent Cindy Eisenhower. “There needs to be checks and balances on something like that.”

Investigators say Duane confessed to the PTO president that she used the money to pay bills and to buy things for herself and her children.

She also said she took out a $7,000 loan last year in an attempt to put some money back.

Walter Miller umpires for the Little League games and says a similar thing happened to them in 2005.

“I was the umpire-in-chief back when we had the problem here,” said Miller. “Maybe $10,000 in our account, and when the treasurer turned it over to the next group, there was $300 in there.”

At a house on East Street in Bloomsburg that is listed as Duane's home, the man answering the door would only say Duane wasn't home.

Investigators say Duane gave them a written statement about what she had done.

Duane was released after her arraignment. She has another court appearance scheduled for later this month.

11 comments

  • A2B2C

    Requiring two people to count the money and two signatures on every check written would prevent a lot of this from happening. Could a person really forge both for too long? They’re all friends and nice people until that love of money becomes the root of all evil!

  • Skoooook

    Pfft, Schuylkill County has adults and parents doing much worse than stealing from the kiddie jar. Who,e grants have gone “missing” in Frackville. Those yocals are probably still trying to figure out how to get more handsome pictures of their kids on Facebook while 6 children swimming in a pothole think the town pool is just a big self gratification pit for the chump coaches and borough council noodle brains. Imagine being the slack jaw in Schuylkill County that couldn’t get voted in as a council member. Total fail.

  • berrios

    Another non profit scam in NEPA! what-else is new. everyone caught up on penn states “big” season but people often look the other way when it comes to this and pedophiles in this neck of the woods.

  • Bloom resident

    Is this why there are no field trips next year lol! This whole district is a joke. They create unnecessary positions for friends, neglect to adequately support the sports programs (especially at the youth level), hires and retains poor teachers, and fails miserably at providing technology/technology instruction at the elementary level.

    Put an end to the politics and corruption. Hire qualified teachers even if you don’t recognize their last name. Run background checks on anyone handling money that should go to the kids.

  • Bill K.

    I understand two signatures are required to write checks. At least they did that right. But what about periodic audits? Were there periodic audits? I know catching a theft of $50 might be hard to find in an audit. But she was in this position for five years. That’s an average theft of $10,000 a year. I have to believe that much money missing would surely stick out if they did proper periodic audits. The PTO is partially at fault since they failed to properly account for their funds. Clearly better financial controls are needed here. I don’t understand why these little organizations don’t try to account for their funds.

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