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PTSA treasurer steals funds to pay personal bills | Crime

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PTSA treasurer steals funds to pay personal bills
Crime

Wesley Chapel, Florida -- A woman employed as a PSTA treasurer for a Pasco middle school has been arrested for stealing funds to pay off her bills.

An investigation revealed between Feb. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013, Jocelyn Severson stole approximately $5,000 from the Thomas E. Weightman Middle School's PTSA bank account to pay various personal bills.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office says PTSA president Margarita Stripling started to catch on that something was wrong when Severson repeatedly made excuses for not having three months of missing bank statements that were noticed during an audit meeting.

When Stripling went to the bank herself to retrieve the missing statements, she found out there was only $656 in the account. When she compared the statements Severson had given her with the bank statements, Stripling and the bank employee noticed the statements had been altered to make it appear there was more money in the account.

Detectives say the bank and Stripling then learned address on the statements had been changed from the school's address to Severson's home address.

Detectives also found out Severson had fraudulently obtained a debit card for the account to withdraw nearly $4,000 since the only way funds could be taken out of the account was for two PTSA board members to sign a check.

In an interview with the school's principal, he told detectives Severson had called him to say she wanted to "pay that money back for my own peace of mind." He said he told her all she needed to do was return the PTSA books, cashbox and computer banking program. Not surprisingly, she had yet to return those items.

Severson, 49, was arrested and charged with scheme to defraud.

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