SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A former financial secretary for a San Jose public school Parent Teacher Association has been charged with embezzling $27,000 from a PTA fund, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Keith Michael Dennis, 44, of San Jose, is charged with forging checks for expenses claimed from PTA fundraisers and field trips that never took place, Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee said.

The charges filed against Dennis include grand theft, embezzlement and two counts of forgery, Lee said.

A warrant for Dennis’ arrest was issued last week and he surrendered for booking on Wednesday and is now out of custody, Lee said.

Prosecutors alleged that Dennis siphoned money from a PTA fund for the Lynhaven Elementary School at 881 S. Cypress Ave. in San Jose that was intended for student activities and other purposes, Lee said.

Dennis, a parent of students at Lynhaven, had once served as a substitute teacher at the school and was the school PTA’s volunteer financial secretary from Oct. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2012, Lee said.

The district attorney’s office started an investigation last year after a PTA auditor told San Jose police that thousands of dollars were missing and that Dennis may be responsible, Lee said.

The office’s investigator discovered some PTA bank checks, which required two signatures, included the forged signature of the PTA’s president, Lee said.

Dennis is alleged to have signed the checks in order to reimburse himself for a printer, a cookie dough fundraiser, school logo clothing and other things that were not due him, Lee said.

He also was supposed to have deposited hundreds of dollars collected from PTA fundraisers but ended up depositing only $16, Lee said.

The amount of money lost by the PTA was estimated at $27,000, however that amount might increase or decrease as the investigation progresses, Lee said.

Dennis will be arraigned on the charges in about two weeks and could be sentenced to four years and four months in the Santa Clara County Main Jail if he is convicted of the charges, Lee said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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