Woman Charged With Embezzling Thousands From Girl Scouts, Little League, PTA
Proving there are no depths to which humanity will not descend for a couple bucks, a California woman has been charged with stealing $89,000 from an elementary school PTA, her daughter's Girl Scout troop and her son's Little League baseball team.
Prosecutors on Friday charged Veronica Padarez, 37, with nine counts of felony grand theft by embezzlement, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Padarez allegedly stole the funds from Vine Elementary PTA, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and West Covina American Little League between 2013 and 2015. She had served as treasurer for the PTA during the 2014-2015 school year and had been involved in the Little League for 10 years, including stints as treasurer and auxiliary vice president.
Fred Jackmovich, president of West Covina American Little League, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune the organization began investigating the possible theft after receiving a tip in January. Via the news outlet:
“When I first found out, I got all the books together and contacted our district administrator. I had a meeting with the executive board,” Jackmovich said.
He had the district audit the books.
“Things didn’t add up. Then we turned the books over to an independent auditor,” he said.
They found checks were made out to the PTA, the Girl Scouts and vice versa, according to Jackmovich. He said the league was told certain vendors had been paid, then found instances where money had been taken out but not given to the vendors.
Padarez was removed from the Little League's board after her arrest in February.
Investigators said Padarez was "in charge of" the Girl Scout troop and had access to all three organizations' books, depositing checks from each organization into the others' accounts, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. This corroborates the findings of West Covina American Little League's audit.
Initially, authorities alleged that Padarez had stolen $52,000 from the PTA and $26,000 from the Little League, but were unsure how much was missing from the Girl Scouts. The subsequent investigation put that number at $11,000, for a total of $89,000.
“I want justice to be served," Jackmovich told the news outlet. "She stole from kids. She stole from three wholesome groups in America—the PTA, Little League and the Girl Scouts."