Deer Park Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Treasurer Suspected of Stealing Over $25,000 of PTO Funds
Last week, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deer Park School Resource Deputy Dan Dutton requested a summons charging the Deer Park Elementary PTO Treasurer with multiple felony theft and forgery charges. Through his investigation, Deputy Dutton located over $25, 000 in fraudulent charges and checks suspected to have been made by the Treasurer over a three-year timeframe. The investigation began when the current PTO Officers reported their suspicions and contacted the Deer Park Superintendent.
In mid-October of 2019, Deputy Dutton met with Superintendent Travis Hanson and current Deer Park Elementary PTO Officers. They reported they suspected, 32-year-old Teesha M. Lutrick, fraudulently used her position as PTO Treasurer to steal over $25,000 of PTO funds over the last three years.
Analyzing the provided PTO bank records, Deputy Dutton identified approximately $15,914 in suspicious debit card charges and ATM withdrawals made between September of 2016 and September of 2019. He also located 19 PTO checks, totaling approximately $10,143, that were written to and endorsed by Lutrick. All of these charges, withdrawals, and checks were inconsistent with normal PTO activities, and none of the current or past PTO Officials believed they were legitimate.
Deputy Dutton contacted Lutrick, advised her of her rights, and conducted an interview regarding this suspected criminal activity. During the interview, Lutrick admitted to stealing the PTO funds. She said she signed the checks with a fictitious signature, made online purchases from various retail outlets and utilities because she, at first, wanted to have better things. These funds were used to pay for vacations, airline tickets, and make miscellaneous purchases at retail stores and utility companies such as Costco, Ace Hardware, Avista, Waste Management, and others. She said recently, the thefts were made of necessity to pay her bills and that none of these purchases or withdrawals were authorized PTO expenditures, and she wanted to take full responsibility for her actions.
With this information establishing probable cause, Deputy Dutton submitted an affidavit to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office requesting a summons, charging Lutrick with two counts of Theft 1st Degree, 19 counts of Forgery.
Lutrick has been removed and is no longer the PTO Treasurer.