Former PTO treasurer pleads guilty to theft

A former PTO treasurer at a Forsyth County elementary school pleaded guilty to stealing more than $32,000 from the organization and was sentenced to 15 years’ probation Wednesday.

Jamie Garfield, accused of stealing the funds from the Cumming Elementary School parent-teacher organization during the 2009 and 2010 school years, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft by taking, according to Forsyth Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge.

Garfield immediately paid $10,000 in restitution and must pay the remaining stolen money over the term of her probation, Partridge said.

“The school board did not want to see her go to prison because she still has young children in the school district,” Patridge told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Garfield also must do community service and she is prohibited from handling money for groups in the future.

“One of the conditions is that she is not allowed to work or volunteer [for any organization] in any capacity where she would have access to anyone else’s funds,” Partridge said.

PTO board members discovered on Aug. 5, 2010, that one of the group’s bank accounts was overdrawn and requested a criminal investigation. The thefts occurred over a 21-month period, police said. Garfield was interviewed once but refused to cooperate for months afterward, police said.

After being charged with theft by taking, Garfield turned herself in to the Forsyth County Detention Center on Aug. 1, 2011.

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