Danielle DeAnn Smallwood — former Creston Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) treasurer who used approximately $23,000 from the PTO account for personal use between October 2010 and April 2013 — pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree theft by misappropriation.
Smallwood will be sentenced 9:30 a.m. Jan. 17 at the Union County Courthouse.
“She pled guilty to a lesser-included offense,” said Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon. “She was originally charged with a class C felony and pled guilty Friday to a lesser class D felony. She’s facing up to five years imprisonment and/or a maximum $7,500 fine.”
The missing $23,000 was discovered by other PTO officers and school officials in May 2013 when PTO officers changed. Law enforcement was notified immediately. In early June, charges against Smallwood were filed with the Union County Clerk of Court.
By August, the 40-year-old Smallwood had repaid almost all of the $20,000 to the PTO account.
“Because she’s repaid about $20,000 of the missing $23,000 to the PTO, there is a substantial likelihood that probation will be involved at the sentencing,” Kenyon said. “Still, that decision will be made by the sentencing committee.”
Kenyon said the additional $3,000 indebted to the PTO will have to be paid by Smallwood.
Currently the PTO is led by President Tanya Strong.
School officials said Strong and the new officers have provided strong leadership and have put policies in place to make sure this never happens again and that all funds raised meet the mission of the organization.