A former PTA president in New Jersey surrendered to police on Monday on charges that she used the group's credit card to make over $6,000 in personal purchases and then did not repay the outstanding debt.
According to Detective Sgt. James M. DePreta with the Rochelle Park Police Department, Shawna Riordan, 33, of Saddle Brook, N.J. became a person of interest after a fellow Midland School #1 PTA member reported that a "credit card, co-signed by her, had an outstanding balance and was currently in collections." He added that the co-signing PTA member "did not make the charges, nor authorize them," according to the Teaneck Daily Voice.
The credit card charges dated back to a period stretching from January 2017 to April 2018. Once members of the PTA, now known as a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization), became aware of the unpaid debt and the "fraudulent use," they "immediately reported the discrepancy," DePreta said.
The Rochelle Park Board of Education provided the following statement regarding the arrest: "The Rochelle Park Board of Education is very concerned about the recent news article reporting the arrest of the former PTO president of the Midland School 1 PTO for misappropriation of funds. Keeping in mind that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and the report is of an arrest and not a conviction, the Board wants the public to be aware that the Midland School 1 PTO is a separate and autonomous body over which the Board has no jurisdiction. The Midland School 1 PTO operates under its own bylaws, is responsible for its own governance and finances. The Board does not review or audit the organization‘s financial records.
"Regrettably, this reported incident casts a cloud over the outstanding work of the Midland School 1 PTO that fosters a strong, nurturing school by engaging staff, students and families through a variety of programs, events and fundraising activities for the benefit of the Rochelle Park school community. The Board will continue to support the Midland School 1 PTO in those efforts."
In turn, the PTO shared on their Facebook page that they were "saddened by the news of allegations against the former PTA/PTO president." They added that no PTA of PTO funds were "affected by this alleged incident. All funds are accounted for and have been appropriately used for PTA/PTO-related activities."
After turning herself into authorities, Riordan was charged with third-degree fraudulent use of a credit card and theft by deception. She was released ahead of a court hearing.
The Rochelle Park Police Department did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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