LIMA — A Lima woman who admitted to investigators that she stole nearly $43,000 from the Shawnee Middle School Parent Teacher Committee faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 when she is sentenced next month.
Heather O’Connor, 45, pleaded guilty last week in Allen County Common Pleas Court to a single count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, after accepting a negotiated deal with prosecutors.
O’Connor was the target of a secret indictment handed down by an Allen County grand jury in July charging her with four counts of second-degree felony charges of grand theft and a single county of tampering with records, a first-degree misdemeanor.
As part of the plea agreement, the state will not make a sentencing recommendation when O’Connor returns to court on March 22. The state will request O’Connor be required to make restitution in the amount of $9,277.75 to the Little Indians Volleyball booster club and $42,141 to the Shawnee Middle School Parent Teacher Committee.
Detective Jack Miller of the Shawnee Township Police Department told The Lima News for a July 2016 story that the middle school’s parent teacher committee, though the participation of parents, raises money to help the school and children pay for various expenses that would not otherwise be available.
He said a bill came due associated with a fundraiser that was not paid, alerting school authorities to a possible problem. The bill then was forwarded to the middle school and school officials discovered insufficient funds within the PTC account.
O’Connor served as treasurer for the PTC at the time and told school officials she took the money. School officials alerted police officials, Miller said as the investigation got underway in 2016.
The woman was interviewed and cooperated with the investigation, Miller said at that time.“She is admitting to everything.”
The offenses for which O’Connor was charged occurred between August 2009 to March 2016, according to court documents.