Tolland County resident Marissa Marks, age 41, of the town of Somers, was arrested on Tuesday, May 23 for allegedly misusing parent-teacher organization (PTO) funds, the Connecticut State Police reported.
According to witness statements, Marks was elected to the Somers CT PTO in 2019, before Somers Public Schools shut down in-person classes due to COVID. She remained PTO president once the school opened up again in September 2020.
During her time as president, Marks is accused of using the PTO’s debit card for her own personal use, draining both the PTO’s checking and money market savings accounts and resulting in the PTO’s checking account being closed due to insufficient funds.
It is unclear if Marks had been using the card since the beginning of her appointment as PTO president; however, witness statements indicated that the first hint of trouble began when Somers Elementary School held a Scholastic Book Fair in November 2021.
Marks was reportedly given the money to deposit to the book fair, but it was not paid to the organization, which resulted in a monthslong saga of Marks allegedly dodging questions by her fellow concerned PTO members, and eventually led to multiple calls to the PTO from collections due to the debt unpaid.
Then, in June 2022, the witness received a letter saying that the PTO bank account had a negative balance of $1,346.91 – even though, at the end of 2019, a previous PTO member had told police the account had $20,000 in it.
An investigation by the PTO members led to a number of transactions they believed were unauthorized by the PTO, including purchases from Kohl’s, a nail salon, a barber’s shop, and Yankee Candles.
When confronted, Marks purportedly admitted to the other members that she had used funds for personal use.
It had been decided at the time that the matter would not be brought to the police, as Marks reportedly promised in November 2022 to calculate how much had been misused and pay it back to the PTO.
As of the statement given by the witness in March 2023, this had not been done.
The PTO Board decided to report Marks to the Somers County Police, and a warrant was set for her arrest for grand larceny.
She turned herself in on Tuesday, May 23.
According to the witness, the lack of funds resulted in Somers Elementary and Middle Schools “miss[ing] out on all PTO-sponsored events from September of 2020 until June of 2022.”
The case is ongoing, and Marks is due to appear in court on Wednesday, June 14.
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