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Former Cumming Elementary PTO Treasurer Guilty, Gets Probation

The 37-year-old former PTO treasurer of Cumming Elementary School pleas guilty and gets 15 years probation.

A former Cumming Elementary School PTO treasurer pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $30,000 from the parent teacher organization and was given a 15-year sentence to serve on probation.

Jamie Garfield, 37, entered a gulity plea to three counts of theft by taking, according to Forsyth Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge.

"She paid $10,000 of the restitution on the day of the plea in a certified check which was given to the principal [of Cumming Elementary] to give to the PTO," said Partridge. "She has another $22,000 of restitution to pay over the course of 15 years."

Garfield will also have to do community service.

Partridge said the negotiated plea was due in large part to Pam Pajerski, Cumming Elementary School principal, and Jennifer Davis, the school's PTO president not wanting Garfield to serve any time in prison because she has young children.

"They really didn't want to see that happen," said Patridge.

Garfield is accused of stealing the money over a 21-month period between 2009 and 2010.

Partridge said while negotiating the plea with Garfield's attorney, Douglas Chanco, she took into account that Garfield took responsibility for her action.

Chanco said the outcome for his client was a very fair result.

"This case was the result of one bad choice," he said. "Jamie wanted to take responsibility and that's what she did yesterday [Wednesday]."

Chanco added that Garfield had a lot of support from the community.

"Many people were there [court] on Jamie's behalf," he said.

According to Chanco, Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Bagley, who heard Wednesday's case, said Garfield is not allowed to be involved with another PTO.

The Cumming Elementary School PTO discovered that one of their accounts was overdrawn, leading them to approach Cumming Police Department regarding an investigation of suspected criminal activity.

Authorities learned of the theft following a police report filed on Aug. 5, 2010.

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Woman Accused of Stealing Nearly $8K from Cumming Elementary PTO Turns Herself In

Warrants Issued for Woman Accused of Stealing from Cumming Elementary PTO

Heather Smith December 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Wow, I don't think it's fair she only got probation. That was a significant amount of money stolen over a prolonged period of time. It certainly took planning and intent. I'm on the Board of my child's PTA and many families who join have to budget the cost of membership in order to join. They go without something in order to write the PTA check. Out of greed this woman stole money from other parents and teachers that was supposed to go to the benefit of student enrichment. Shameful, probation and community service are hardly punishment at all.
Respectfully Disagree December 23, 2012 at 02:00 AM
The judge then should have given her at least a year in jail. She stole all this money from a Title 1 school! I disagree with her attorney's assertion that this was "one mistake." She drained the account over several years. I'm disgusted that she was buying cars and vacations with the playground fund money and other funds for economically disadvantaged children. Why would everyone vouch for her? Was she just "a great person" and "a lot of fun?"
George May 04, 2013 at 09:02 AM
Wow I can't believe how condemning people are. Carefull how harshly you judge. I'm sure things have never gotten out of control in your life or someone in your family. How qquickly would you condem one of your friends or what if one of your kids committed a crime. I am sure she probably has now prior arrests. Having to deal with the whole thing probable was much worse than you think. iI've seen highly intelligent, productive people self destruct for no reason. No reason you or iI could see. Life is harsh sometimes even if were the cause of it. She probably is baffled by the down word spiral her life has taken.

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