The former president of a Jamaica elementary schools parents association was arrested last week and charged with stealing some $15,000 from the group during the previous school year, the Queens DA said.
Taisha Williamson, 35, of 216-25 135th Ave. in Springfield Gardens, is accused of stealing and misusing funds from the parents association for PS 37Q in Jamaica during the 2000-2001 school year, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Williamson could face up to seven years in jail if convicted, Brown said.
The defendant is alleged to have written unauthorized parents association checks to cash from November 2000 through June of this year while she was president of the association, draining that account of funds and failing to pay vendors, Brown said.
Williamson was charged with two counts of grand larceny in the third degree, one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree, two counts of petit larceny and two counts of issuing a bad check, Brown said.
She was entrusted with money from school fund-raising activities that would have ultimately benefited the children of PS 37Q educational material and programs not covered by the board of education budge and instead allegedly used the money for personal gain, Brown said.
Browns office charges that Williamson allegedly began to write checks to cash in early April 2001 and continued to cash them against her own bank account, accumulating more than $5,700 in this manner.
Schools Chancellor Harold Levy praised the work of investigators from the district attorneys office and the Board of Educations special investigators as well as District 29 Administrator Michael Johnson in preparing their case against Williamson.
It is deplorable for anyone, especially the president of the parents association, allegedly to deposit public funds into a personal account that were meant for the children at PS 37 in Queens, Levy said. Fund-raising activities are crucial to the survival of many schools programs and these activities are becoming more vital as we face tighter and tighter school budgets.
Williamson is also accused of writing checks to vendors from the parents association account, which bounced due to insufficient funds, Browns said. Those vendors had provided PS 37Q with thousands of dollars worth of goods, such as T-shirts, candy and photographs.
While students purchased these items, the vendors were never compensated, Brown said.
The cash collected from these goods and any profit made from their sale a total of more than $10,000 remain unaccounted for, Brown said.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2001 Community News Group
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