Smyrna PTO treasurer arrested for fraudulent purchases

SMYRNA — The treasurer of the Smyrna Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization has been arrested for allegedly making around $11,000 in unauthorized purchases with a PTO-issued debit card.

Purchases included gas, liquor, baseball tickets, jewelry, clothing and ATM withdrawals.

Cpl. Brian M. Donner, spokesman for the Smyrna Police Department, said that a four-month long investigation conducted by Smyrna detectives ended with Tuesday’s arrest of 39-year-old Kellie Sullivan-McGovern, of Smyrna, on a total of 139 charges.

Kellie Sullivan-McGovern

Kellie Sullivan-McGovern

Cpl. Donner said detectives received tips in March 2016 of “suspected internal thefts” within the Smyrna PTO. An ensuing investigation culminated in the arrest of Ms. Sullivan-McGovern on Tuesday.

The Smyrna Elementary School PTO is affiliated with the school but is run solely by the parents of students.

Investigators found that over the course of nearly two years Ms. Sullivan-McGovern used a debit card issued to her in her official capacity as treasurer for the PTO for “unlawful and unauthorized personal purchases.”

According to court documents, Ms. Sullivan-McGovern allegedly racked up a total of $5,390.68 in unauthorized purchases from September 2014 until March 2016. She also allegedly withdrew $777 from the PTO bank account on April 17, 2015, and took and kept $4,852.06 of Santa Shop money that belonged to the Smyrna Elementary PTO.

Ms. Sullivan-McGovern also allegedly used the PTO debit card to make purchases at WalMart, Dunkin Donuts, Rite Aid, Redbox Rental, Chick-Fil-A, The Sportzone in Smyrna, Krispy Kreme and Victoria’s Secret, among several dozen others.

Court documents revealed Ms. Sullivan-McGovern produced budget printouts at regular PTO meetings “that were fictitious in nature, and displayed money amounts that were false creating a false representation of what was being withdrawn and deposited into the bank account.”

Ms. Sullivan-McGovern, who was arraigned in person at Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover, faces two counts of felony theft $1,500 or greater, 136 counts of unlawful use of a payment card and one count of falsifying business records.

Ms. Sullivan-McGovern was released on $7,850 unsecured bond after her arraignment pending a future court hearing.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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