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FARMINGTON — A 28-year-old Farmington woman was charged Sept. 1 with embezzling more than $15,000 from Northeast Elementary School's parent teacher organization.

Myca Ross was charged in Farmington Magistrate Court with embezzlement as a third-degree felony, four counts of forgery and tampering with evidence.

Ross' attorney, Sarah Weaver, said she had no comment on the allegations.

Two members of the school's parent teacher organization contacted Farmington police on Aug. 20 to report the alleged embezzlement, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Leah Frost and Dana Garrison told detectives Ross spent about $12,160 from the PTO's bank account on personal items, including gasoline, a pizza party for her child, groceries and a birthday party.

A cash deposit from the organization's candy bar sale was also short $4,000, and the women suspected cash from other fundraisers may be missing, the affidavit states.

The women told detectives Ross claimed a friend of hers stole her debit card and used it on the unauthorized purchases, the warrant states. Ross told the women she would make her friend return the money, according to the affidavit.

Frost and Garrison both claimed their signatures were forged by Ross on several cashed checks, the affidavit states.

A forensic audit by detectives revealed $15,188 was missing from the PTO's bank account, according to the affidavit.

Further investigation revealed Ross obtained a cashier's check from her mother for $11,000 and deposited it in the bank account, claiming it was from her friend, according to the affidavit.

The parent teacher organization is independent of Northeast Elementary, but raises money to help teachers in the classroom and to fund student events.

Farmington Municipal Schools Superintendent Eugene Schmidt said he was not certain what effect the theft would have on school activities.

"The school district has been working closely with the police department during the investigation," he said. "It's not our practice to comment about the allegations, except to say we are following the lead of the police department."

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.

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