PTA President Accused of Stealing From Fire Victim's GoFundMe - NBC 6 South Florida

PTA President Accused of Stealing From Fire Victim's GoFundMe

Jennifer LaCasse, 31, was arrested Wednesday on charges of organized scheme to defraud and third-degree grand theft

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    PTA Pres. Accused of Misappropriating Funds

    The president of a Miami school's Parent Teacher Association is accused of stealing money from a GoFundMe account she organized for a family who lost their home in a fire. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo reports.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019)

    The president of a Miami school's Parent Teacher Association is accused of stealing money from a GoFundMe account she organized for a family who lost their home in a fire.

    Jennifer LaCasse, 31, was arrested Wednesday on charges of organized scheme to defraud and third-degree grand theft, according to an arrest report.

    The report said LaCasse, who has been PTA president at Ada Merritt K-8 Center for about the past two years, offered to help the victim when the victim's home was destroyed in a fire in March.

    LaCasse set up a GoFundMe for the victim, using a school PTA email address, and arranged for the funds to go into LaCasse's personal bank account, the report said. By March 15, GoFundMe had deposited about $8,395.76 into LaCasse's bank account, the report said.

    Jennifer LaCasse Appears in Bond Court

    [MI] Jennifer LaCasse Appears in Bond Court

    Jennifer LaCasse Appears in bond court.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019)

    The victim received $5,458 from LaCasse, but never received the remaining balance of of $2,937.76, the report said. LaCasse later told the victim that the GoFundMe was put on hold and that the funds weren't available "due to suspicion by some of the parents who requested refunds for their donations because of questions on the circumstances of the fire," the report said.

    LaCasse told investigators she had returned the money to GoFundMe, the report said.GoFundMe verified that the account was put on hold, but said the remaining balance wasn't returned to them, the report said.

    "From the start, [LaCasse] engaged in a systematic scheme to defraud the victim of funds she was not entitled to," the report said.

    Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

    LaCasse was booked into jail, where she remained held on $10,000 bond, records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.

    "We will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials during their investigation and will ensure that Ms. Zambrano receives all of the funds raised on her behalf," GoFundMe said in a statement. "All donors are fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are protected by a comprehensive refund policy if misuse occurs."

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