Okanagan PACs warned to scrutinize books after 2nd alleged embezzlement

Canada

A second parent advisory council in the Okanagan has allegedly had thousands of dollars embezzled from its bank account.

An estimated $22,000 was stolen from South Rutland Elementary’s parent advisory council (PAC).

“The kids haven’t got any money this year, and it’s January, and school’s back tomorrow,” said Sarah Shakespeare, a spokesperson with Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council.

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Shakespeare believes small sums of money were pilfered off in pieces over the last couple of years.

“I think it’s stealing from the families,” she said.

“Everybody’s raised that money. Everyone’s taken time to come to the events, support the fundraisers, donate money from their own accounts.

“And the only thing that’s affected at the end are the children, because now they get less.”

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Shakespeare said PACs are not supposed to use debit cards, and usually use cheques or withdraw money in person.

“It was done through cheques and through just transferring money in and out of the bank,” she said.

The alleged embezzlement is the second one to be discovered by a Kelowna PAC in five months.

Glenrosa Elementary School’s PAC discovered it was missing an estimated $22,000 in September.

The cases are not believed to be related, Shakespeare said.

“It’s separate areas. The people don’t even know each other,” she said. “It’s just a situation where I guess somebody has got themselves in some sort of financial position where that seemed too tempting.”

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The Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council is now issuing a warning for other PACs to be vigilant.

“If someone is seeing to the bank account, even if you have a trust in them, always look over them,” Shakespeare said.

“At each meeting you also have to have the accounts available and everything available to the parents that attend the meeting.”

Shakespeare said the PAC believes it knows who the culprit is, and RCMP are investigating.

The South Rutland Elementary School’s PAC is hoping to coming up with new fundraising ideas to help replace the stolen cash, which is usually used for things like field trips, hot lunches or technology for the kids, Shakespeare said.

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