Saturday, July 24, 2004

Former PTO officer convicted of theft

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

HAMILTON - A former Fillmore Elementary School PTO treasurer was convicted Friday of stealing more than $16,000 from the group.

Robin R. Cook, 47, pleaded no contest to an amended theft charge after being charged last month with writing - and cashing - checks to herself totaling at least $16,000 between September 2003 and May 13, 2004.

Cook has repaid a total of $16,753.91, which included the loss from the PTO and fees to an accounting firm that determined what was missing, said her attorney, Jack Garretson.

"We're ready to put it behind us," said PTO president Debbie Yokers. "She paid the amount we agreed to. It's over. It's done with and we're ready to move on."

In court, Cook apologized for her actions.

"I'm terribly sorry. I never meant for this to happen," Cook said. "I'll never do it again."

Garretson said Cook doesn't think she took as much money as was alleged, but was willing to pay the disputed amount. He said she had to borrow from her mother.

"From my perspective, she and her family have been victimized by her own fault," Garretson said. "She's put herself through a tremendous trauma. Not only is she remorseful but terribly embarrassed and humiliated."

Cook was elected treasurer of the PTO in September 2003 after one year as a member. Yokers said Cook volunteered frequently. Police were contacted in June after Cook failed to turn over the books when a new treasurer was elected in May.

Acting Judge Mark Hardig sentenced Cook to six months in jail and fined her $250 plus court costs. He suspended the jail term and put her on two years reporting probation.

She is also barred from holding membership in or attending any PTO events.

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