The former president of the parent teacher organization at a Bethel Park middle school is accused of swiping more than $21,000 from the group, including money that was to be donated to charities.
Secretary Heather Fontana and treasurer Heather Scott noticed Neil Armstrong PTO's checking account balance had fallen from $25,343 in September 2011 to $6,710.89 this year, although the balance typically stays the same or will increase from year to year, according to a criminal complaint.
Heidi L. Schnupp, 42, of Bethel Park had been in control of the checkbook since she became president in June 2011, Ms. Scott told police. Bylaws required the president's and secretary's signatures on each check, she said.
In reviewing canceled checks, Ms. Scott told police she noticed her signature had been forged. Many of 15 checks made payable to Ms. Schnupp -- totaling $8,944 -- bore the fake signature, police said.
Ms. Schnupp also was to deposit $6,815.69 and $5,854.34 from school book fairs, although police said those transactions never occurred.
She also collected and counted money from a "charity fair" and said she had given $300 to Sandy Hook victims and $2,735.27 to South Hills Interfaith Ministries, police said. A check for $700 made out to cash noted it was for Bethel Park Police Pals.
Ms. Schnupp never made any of those donations, police said.
When she was questioned May 10, Ms. Schnupp told police she had forged Ms. Scott's signature and had taken money from the group, but had no idea how much she had spent to pay bills, buy groceries and, as she said, "to buy stupid stuff."
She told police she has bipolar disorder and had been off her medication while she served as president. Ms. Schnupp told police she was sorry and that she is willing to repay the parent teacher organization.
In the past, she had stolen from other organizations, Ms. Schnupp told police, but she had never been prosecuted because she repaid the money.
Bethel Park police charged Ms. Schnupp with a felony count each of theft by unlawful taking; theft by failure to make required disposition of funds; and forgery.
She was released from the Allegheny County Jail after posting bail and awaits a June 3 preliminary hearing. Ms. Schnupp was removed from her position as PTO president Friday.
On behalf of the organization, Ms. Fontana said, "The Neil Armstong PTO is moving forward to provide our students with events they have always received.
"This situation is unfortunate, but the remaining board members and wonderful volunteers will continue to work and to continue to provide all of the activities for our children."
Lexi Belculfine: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.