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January 4, 2013

PTO officer charged with felony theft

THOMASVILLE —

A former Thomasville PTO treasurer was charged Friday with stealing more than $24,000 from the organization.

On Wednesday, an officer of the Jerger Elementary School PTO contacted the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office about discrepancies in the organization’s finances.

The PTO officer requested the agency’s assistance with what appeared to be funds missing from the PTO bank account.

At that time, it had not been determined how much money was missing, but it appeared to be about $10,000, said Capt. Steven Jones, sheriff’s office public information officer.

The organization’s volunteer treasurer, Leslie Ann Christmas, admitted to the PTO she had taken the money and said she was willing to pay it back, Jones explained.

On Friday morning, PTO officers and the Jerger principal met with Sheriff Carlton Powell, a district attorney’s office representative and Jones.

It had been determined more than $24,000 was missing from the bank account.

“She took over as PTO treasurer in late May, and it appears that in early June she began to embezzle funds,” Jones said.

Christmas, 30, Live Oak Circle, surrendered at the sheriff’s office Friday afternoon. Charged with felony theft by taking, she is being held at the Thomas County Jail, awaiting arraignment sometime this weekend.

Jones said the matter was turned over to law enforcement immediately upon the discovery money was missing.

“She was not an employee of the city school system or any school system,” Jones explained. “She’s a volunteer for the PTO and handled only PTO money, not Jerger school money.”

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.

 

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