Parent who stole from PTA at St Albans primary school jailed

PUBLISHED: 17:28 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:30 19 January 2017

St Albans Crown Court

St Albans Crown Court

Archant

A man jailed for nine months after stealing more than £28,000 from a primary school’s PTA account has been described as ‘mean’ by a judge.

Dean White, 31, of Cassius Drive in St Albans, stole the money from Prae Wood Primary School in King Harry Lane between December 2015 and September 2016.

White was sentenced today at St Albans Crown Court.

His partner was treasurer of the PTA, and White first stole the £5,772 proceeds of the school Christmas fair which had been put in a safe by his partner at their home.

White then paid money from the school’s account into his own, making it appear as if it was going to a company which printed summer fair booklets. According to prosecutor Oliver Doherty, the total cost to the PTA was £28,579.

In an earlier hearing, White pleaded guilty to theft and fraud by false representation. He had four cautions for offences of dishonesty, two for theft and two for fraud.

Matthew Pardoe, defending White, said: “He was trying to pay it back as he went along, but the cheques he was paying into the account were bouncing.

“He was thinking he could pay it back, but his business was not making enough money.

“Anyone who looked at the accounts would have realised something was wrong. The level of deceit was not sophisticated. He tried to pay it back before it was discovered.”

Mr Pardoe asked the judge for a suspended sentence, as part of which White would pay £10,000 back in 10 days.

However Judge Andrew Bright QC said: “You stole a very substantial amount of money, which could have been put to good use. Instead it went into your pocket.

“It is said you were doing no more than borrowing the money, but all the cheques paid in bounced.

“There was a measure of sophistication and planning over a period of several months. They were mean and nasty offences. The victims were the children who attended that school.”

A confiscation hearing will be held on July 6.

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