Deer Park Elementary parent teacher organization treasurer accused of stealing over $25,000

The treasurer of the Deer Park Elementary Parent Teacher Organization has been arrested for reportedly stealing over $25,000 of PTO funds.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said 32-year-old Teesha M. Lutrick fraudulently used her position as PTO treasurer to steal the funds over the last three years.

“Whenever you have organizations that serve schools become the victims of crime and when kids are a part of that, it’s an incredibly sad incident,” said Travis Hanson, Superintendent for the Deer Park School District.

School Resource Deputy Dan Dutton analyzed PTO bank records and identified approximately $15,914 in suspicious debt card charges and ATM withdrawals made between September 2016 and September 2019. He also located 19 PTO checks totaling more than $10,100 that were written to and endorsed by Lutrick.

These charges, withdrawals and checks were inconsistent with normal PTO activities and PTO officials did not believe they were legitimate, the Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

The Sheriff’s Office said Lutrick admitted to stealing the PTO funds. She said she signed the checks with a fictitious signature, made online purchases from various retail outlets and utilities because, at first, she wanted to have better things.

The Sheriff’s Office said these funds were used to pay for vacations, airlines tickets and miscellaneous purchases at Costco, Ace Hardware, Avista and Waste Management.

Lutrick told the Sheriff’s Office the thefts were made out of necessity to pay her bills and that none of the purchases or withdrawals were authorized PTO expenditures. She also said she wanted to take full responsibility of her actions.

Dutton submitted an affidavit to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office request a summons to charge Lutrick with two counts of first degree theft and 19 counts of forgery. She has also been removed from her position as PTO treasurer.

Lutrick was not only the treasurer of the PTO, she was employed with Deer Park Elementary.

This also isn’t the first time she’ been accused of embezzlement. Lutrick was ordered to repay over $33,000 to the Kettle Falls Church 10 years ago.