The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.
Lisa McMenamin, 50, of 3684 Welmore Ct. in Tarpon Springs, was arrested Aug. 4 on a charge of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary PTA. She was booked into Pinellas County Jail and later released on $7,500 bail.
According to an affidavit filed with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, McMenamin stole PTA funds on at least 10 occasions between October 2015 and July 2016, taking a total of more than $5,000. The affidavit says she submitted a PTA form in May 2016 seeking reimbursement for $451.74 for fifth-grade school supplies with a screenshot of an Amazon.com shopping cart containing items totaling that amount.
A PTA check was issued to her, but McMenamin never purchased the items, the affidavit said. She repeated the same offense on two other occasions, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said McMenamin used the PTA funds to pay her personal Discover and Verizon Wireless bills. It said she also wrote three checks to herself totaling $2,000 while writing in the PTA ledger that the checks were voided.
According to court records, McMenamin pleaded not guilty. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 11.
McMenamin did not respond to requests for comment. Tessa McGrew, who is listed on the school's PTA website as PTA president, declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
McMenamin's arrest came three months after another case in which money was taken from a Pinellas PTA. Daniel Brennan, the former principal at Pasadena Fundamental Elementary in St. Petersburg, was charged in early May with scheming to defraud following allegations that he mishandled and could not account for more than $5,000 from the school's PTA. He has since pleaded not guilty and has made full restitution.
Jessica Summers, president of the Pinellas County Council PTA, said investigating the accusations against McMenamin have been a "work in progress for a while now."
"We got some people who are not following proper procedures and it's just like with any business," Summers said. "If people want to take, they're going to figure out a way to do it, and unfortunately that's what we have found has happened."
Summers said the county PTA has reinforced its trainings by adding increased checks and balances. She said school PTAs are reminded that those who ask for reimbursements should not be signing off on those same forms and there should always be two people checking financial information. Everyone in the organization has a fiduciary responsibility, she said.
"After all, their responsibility after the PTA is the children," Summers said.
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Contact Colleen Wright at email@example.com or (727) 893-8643. Follow @Colleen_Wright.