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Former treasurer faces charges of stealing $30,000 from Mystic Valley Charter School PTO

Posted by Jarret Bencks  September 27, 2013 01:31 PM

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A former treasurer for the Parent-Teacher Organization at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing more than $30,000 from the group’s accounts, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.

Ami R. Wood, 41, of Peabody, became treasurer of the PTO in 2009, according to the district attorney’s office. It is alleged that as treasurer, she started diverting money from the organization by writing checks to herself and her husband, said Ryan’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Guyotte. 

The money was allegedly used to cover personal expenses and bills, Guyotte said.

Wood, a former Malden resident, is charged with three counts of larceny over $250 and falsifying/omitting entries in the PTO’s record books. She was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on Aug. 13 and released on personal recognizance, Guyotte said.

Wood could not be reached for comment. Her husband has not been charged.

Questions about the PTO’s books arose when “some irregularities were discovered in [Wood’s] accounting,” Mystic Valley PTO president Priya Rajan said in an e-mail to the Globe.  “The PTO conducted an internal audit and discovered that funds had been misappropriated from the PTO accounts. This matter was immediately referred to the authorities and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office and the former treasurer was removed from office.”

Rajan declined to provide additional details, citing the ongoing criminal case.

However, she noted the PTO has implemented a number of policy changes to prevent any financial improprieties in the future.

“We have made dual approval mandatory for all expenses and made cash transactions more restrictive,” Rajan said.

Trustees of the highly ranked charter school declined to comment.

“As you know, there is an ongoing investigation regarding alleged misappropriation of PTO funds,” said Thomas E. Brennan, secretary of the Board of Trustees. “As the PTO is an independent organization, you should direct any question you may have to them.”

Wood is due back in court Oct. 11 for a status hearing.

Brenda J. Buote may be reached at brenda.buote@gmail.com.

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