Former PTA president charged with embezzling thousands from Chesterfield elementary school

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A former PTA president in Chesterfield County is accused of using her position to steal thousands of dollars from the children she was supposed to help.

The accused, 33-year-old Christina Saunders, is also the mom of a student at the school. She told 8News she couldn’t talk about what happened, but police and county PTA leaders said Saunders pilfered more than $7,000 from Matoaca Elementary School while she was president of the school’s PTA.

Saunders appeared in court alone Tuesday to face a judge and a felony charge of embezzlement. According to investigators, she stole more than $7,000 over a period of time, spanning from last October to January 2018.

Parents are calling what happened shameful, while police call it illegal.

“You’re taking from kids. It’s a whole nother level of wrong,” one parent told 8News.

“It’s really upsetting,” parent Shannon Hill added. “All parents here are really active in the PTA; we all donate. The kids work hard for all the money that goes into the PTA, so it’s just really sad that it was taken away from them.”

Police said other people on the PTA board with Saunders suspected something was going on and took their concerns to the Chesterfield County Council PTA, which conducted an audit.

After an audit revealed discrepancies in the financial records, a police report was filed,. Christina was their PTA President but is no longer on the Matoaca Elementary School PTA Board.” — Sara Gilliam, President of Chesterfield County Council PTA

“PTA President is someone we all really rely on to make sure everything is run properly, so it’s just really upsetting that she didn’t do that for us.”

Tuesday afternoon, 8News learned that the money had been returned to the school. But Saunders will still have to appear in court for the embezzlement charge.

8News also learned that the school PTA may have been lax on some of its financial protocols, but board members said they are going to now focus on strengthening those procedures.

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