A woman has been charged after more than $24,000 was discovered missing by the Arlington Elementary School PTA.
Susan M. Rothenberger, 46, of the 5100 block of West Arlington Park Boulevard, has been charged with theft, a Class D felony in Allen Superior Court.
According to court documents, in 2012 an audit of the Arlington Elementary School PTA discovered $24,439.50 was missing from its account at Wells Fargo Bank. Theresa Distelrath and Tina Hartman, employees of Indiana PTA performed the audit at the request of Diane Dikeolakos, who was principal of the school, according to the court documents. Dikeolakos found discrepancies in the financial accounting records of the organization and became concerned. The account was overdrawn, and a year-end audit was slow in being performed.
The audit detailing the loss of funds in question was generated from the use of a debit card that was in the sole control of Rothenberger. Rothenberger was the PTA's treasurer during the time in question and admitted to using the card for cash withdrawals contrary to accepted policy, according to court documents.
Distelrath and Hartman from the state PTA presented the audit to a Fort Wayne Police detective as evidence of their claim of theft. The audit was found to be an accurate representation of the theft from the PTA perpetuated by Rothenberger. The detective started an investigation into the theft of the funds. The report and audit are presented as evidence in detailing the theft.
Krista Stockman, public information director for Fort Wayne Community Schools, said Monday evening, that the district has been aware of the situation since August. Stockman said one of the reasons they feel so strongly about using the PTA organization in Fort Wayne Community Schools is because of all the safeguards and structures the organization has in place to ensure that situations like this rarely happen and find them as quickly as possible if they do. Stockman said the volunteers and the organization do great things in the schools and it is always unfortunate when one person casts a bad light on the organization through his or her behavior.
“Parents don't always want to use the PTA organization but we insist on it in our schools because of the safeguards they have in place,” Stockman said.
Bond has been set at $2,500 for Rothenberger.