Woman charged with stealing thousands from school PTO

Julie Herndon (Source: MBPD)
Julie Herndon (Source: MBPD)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A woman school officials and parents trusted with their money has been charged after police say she slowly siphoned thousands of dollars into her personal bank account.

WMBF News obtained a police report from Myrtle Beach Police that alleges the treasurer for the Myrtle Beach Primary School Parent Teacher Organization, 35-year-old Julie Allen Herndon, stole from the organization's bank account.

The incident was reported to police on April 25, when the president of the PTO told police she was approached by the school's principal about the possible theft. The principal had received an anonymous call, saying funds in the PTO's bank account were being mishandled.

The president told the principal she was one of the three authorized users of the organizations bank account, but she did not handle their account. The PTO had a treasurer and co-treasurer that were responsible for their bookkeeping and were the only other authorized account users, the president told the principal in the report.

After being contacted by the principal, the PTO president inquired about the account balance from the bank.

A bank representative told the PTO president that there was approximately $950 in their account, and feeling that there must be an error, the president asked for the bank records.

Those bank records show the PTO treasurer, Julie Herndon, had transferred funds from the PTO's account into her personal account at another bank in several transactions beginning in January, withdrawing a total of $11,037.48 over four months.

The transactions began as wireless bank transfers, and bank records show the last transaction was a check made out to Herndon from the PTO account for $1,298.55.

Herndon repaid the PTO account a total of $5,000, according to the bank records.

When police approached Herndon about the withdrawals, the report says she 'was not at ease with the conversation' and had planned to make payments back into the account.

Herndon was arrested on May 15 and charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent. Myrtle Beach Jail records show Herndon was released later that day on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Following Herndon's arrest, Horry County School District Spokeswoman Teal Britton said the district nor the school will be taking any action in response to the alleged theft.

"The parent clubs are independent of Horry County Schools," Britton said.  "[PTO's] have their own by-laws, they elect their own officers, they handle their own money."

Myrtle Beach Primary School parent Marilee Cabe said she hopes the PTO will be more careful in regards to whom they trust their money with after the alleged theft.

"[The PTO] has got a lot to think about," Cabe said.  "Maybe in the future we ought to be more a little more cautious in who we get into the PTO program."

WMBF News attempted to contact members of the Myrtle Beach Primary PTO, and received an email response from the organization's Vice-President declining comment.

As of Friday Afternoon at 5, Herndon was still listed as a member of the Myrtle Beach Primary PTO on the organization's web site.

WMBF News also attempted to contact Herndon on the phone and at the residence listed on Myrtle Beach Police reports, but she could not be reached for comment.

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