Former South Bay PTA mom charged with stealing school funds

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SAN DIEGO — A former South Bay PTA mom was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzling thousands of dollars in school funds.

Police suspect Kaitlyn Birchman, 30, stole the money while serving as PTA President at Imperial Beach Charter School, taking money that was meant to pay vendors and fund field trips, computer program licenses, classroom supplies and other campus activities.

PTA leaders first discovered the missing funds last year. Current President Amber Vissuet told FOX 5 the organization was out more than $20,000.

After an investigation from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, police in Temecula arrested Birchman Wednesday at her Riverside County home.

A jail log from the Riverside County shows she faces charges related to writing fictitious checks, grand theft of personal property and embezzlement by an employee. After an interview and booking process, Birchman posted bond, according to Sheriff’s officials.

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office was notified of the arrest and now trial dates are pending.

“I discovered it in January when the previous treasurer let me know that there was money unaccounted for. So then she reached out to me and we got together. We started contacting all the vendors that we previously used to see if the invoices were paid and we found out they were not,” Vissuet said.

“Even the beginning of the school year … we didn’t have any funds. We would usually have a welcome barbecue for the families and have some type of a welcome party. We weren’t able to do anything like that. We weren’t able to have a carnival at the end of last school year,” Elizabeth McKay, the PTA’s treasurer, said.

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