Kelowna PAC creates payment plan for former member who allegedly stole $25K
'We're finally able to put all that hurt and anger in the past'
The South Rutland Elementary Parent Advisory Council has reached an agreement with a former member who allegedly stole approximately $25,000 from the committee.
The council has decided not to release the name of the accused former member, because their kids still attend the school, said council president Toni Koryakuss.
"We have worked very hard to protect the children of the family and protect the kids in our school," she said.
"We feel that it's important that people recognize that this is a family and these kids did not choose to go through what they've been going through."
The council was able to avoid legal prosecution after the accused agreed to a letter of demand from the council asking them to pay back all of the money that was taken, council vice-president Sue Miles told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
"We've agreed on an installment plan based on the family's income and what it can afford. So it'll be paid out over a series of months and ends up being a couple of years," said Miles.
However, there is still an open criminal investigation and charges are still pending, said Koryakuss.
Over the past year-and-a-half as executive positions were changing on the council, there were some warning signs that something was off, explained Koryakuss.
"Spidey senses were out, and people started recognizing that some things just weren't looking right," she said.
"[The accused was] neglecting to give the bank balances and show bank statements at the meetings, which was the biggest warning sign."
It also came down to a gut feeling.
"The biggest thing, with something like this is you all sit around the table, you're all friends, you've known each other, your kids play together, but sometimes your gut just tells you something isn't right," said the council president.
"And that was a big thing, and not producing documents and information, and people just maybe not having their books balance, and the money amounts were not correct."
Shock and hurt
Many of the parents were hurt when they found out what had happened, said Koryakuss.
"We were all shocked, and most of our parents were actually angry," she added.
"But the one thing that we've done is we've stuck through ... We've had some wonderful outcomes and we're finally able to put all that hurt and anger in the past and we can look forward to the future. It's time for our school to start healing."
Proving that your organization has been defrauded can be a daunting task, said Miles. They found that a lot of the information they were looking for had been taken or destroyed.
"But we just kept pursuing it, and pursuing it, and I know that some PACs and some organizations have had this happen to them and they haven't followed through," she said.
"It's a lot of footwork, but it has to be done and it needs to be done thoroughly."
Miles, who is now also the acting treasurer, says he and the council have implemented a lot of changes to create more checks and balances with their finances.
Some of the changes include: having two signatures on every cheque, making duplicate copies of cheques, keeping the deposit book in a locked area and ensuring there are at least two people present when any kind of counting is done.
"We've tightened up on our security on so many levels," said Miles.
With files from Daybreak South