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Couple accused of taking money from PTO

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By Deidre Wilson

A couple was indicted last month and accused of stealing money from the LaFollette Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.

Matthew and Heather Brooks were indicted by a Campbell County Grand Jury of one count each of theft over $2,500.

According to a press release from the state comptroller’s office, investigators determined the couple misappropriated at least $8,286 from the PTO.

“Investigators determined that Matthew Brooks, the former PTO events coordinator, and his wife Heather Brooks, the former PTO president, used the PTO’s debit card to withdraw cash and make personal purchases,” the press release reads.

“These purchases included buying service for personal cell phones, games for Google Play, personal meals at local restaurants, and entertainment in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

“Heather Brooks also manipulated or withheld the PTO’s financial reports to conceal this activity from the board.”

According to the release, the couple admitted to investigators that they misused PTO funds and assisted investigators with the comptroller’s office in identifying their personal transactions.

“After the discovery of these discrepancies, PTO operations were suspended. The organization was administratively dissolved in March 2017,” the release states.