Cheerleader group leader charged with $18,000 theft

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A Fayette County woman was arrested Thursday on charges that she stole more than $18,000 from a Westmoreland County group serving child cheerleaders.

Police said Lesley Manown, 43, of Belle Vernon, was serving as treasurer for the Rostraver Township Cheer Association when she stole $18,686.82 from the group, which serves 81 cheerleaders in kindergarten through Grade 8.

"Manown bilked the RTCA while writing fraudulent checks, creating fictitious bills and using the organization's debit card to pay for a Disney trip, home utilities, personal loan payments, meals, iTunes services and to make cash withdrawals," Rostraver police wrote in a news release.

They said Ms. Manown stole the money over a three-month period and that much of it was taken in June, when the group's commissioner opened a new checking account and entrusted her with a debit card and cash on the premise that she would buy a TV for a raffle.

Ms. Manown faces charges of theft, forgery and access device fraud and is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 14. She could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.



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