Aleta Taylor, 40, will be sentenced Jan. 10 in Thurston County Superior Court. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors and Taylor’s attorney will recommend that she serve 30 days in jail. Her attorney, Rick Cordes, said Friday that Taylor has paid back the $14,965 she stole.
Taylor, who lives in Idaho, was Roosevelt’s PTA treasurer from 2007-09 and 2010-11. Her husband, Paul, was the school’s PTA treasurer from 2009-10.
Current Roosevelt PTA President Desi Saylors has said the stolen money was raised by parents and students through efforts such as read-athons, auctions, garage sales and cookie dough sales. The PTA’s annual operating budget has averaged about $38,000 over the past five years, she said.
The money typically is spent on improvement projects at the school, scholarship programs that allow students in need to participate in activities such as field trips, and the school’s library, Saylors has said.
The PTA has established checks and balances to ensure that unauthorized withdrawals from its accounts cannot occur, Saylors has said.
The thefts, which were reported to police in August 2011, had a “painful” effect on the PTA’s budget, Saylors has said.
“It had a direct impact on programs last year, on children,” she said after Taylor was charged in May. “It definitely affected the children.”
According to charging documents:
In October 2009, former Roosevelt PTA Vice President Christopher White had raised concerns about Taylor’s “free rein” and “lack of accountability” while managing PTA finances. In September 2010, Saylors, then the Roosevelt PTA’s vice president, expressed concern that there hadn’t been a financial review in two years. The Washington State PTA’s bylaws require that every PTA in the state conduct a financial review at the end of each fiscal year.
In June 2011, Saylors, who by then had become the Roosevelt PTA president, ordered Taylor to turn over all PTA financial records.
PTA members reviewing the records in 2011 noted “unexplained transactions” involving the PTA’s bank account in 2008. An audit conducted by the PTA, with the assistance of Olympia detectives, revealed that Taylor used a PayPal account that was set up for a Roosevelt PTA fundraising effort to access Roosevelt PTA funds from its First Citizens Bank account. Police say Taylor used the legitimate Roosevelt PTA PayPal account to deposit PTA funds into her own PayPal accounts.
Taylor also is thought to have transferred funds from the PTA’s bank account to pay for purchases not authorized by the PTA.
Taylor admitted to the PTA that she had “taken $1,700 without authorization.” She stated in a letter to the PTA that she could pay $100 a month to pay it off.
During an interview with an Olympia detective, Taylor “expressed fear over going to jail and that her involvement in the thefts was going to severely impact her family in a negative way.”