Midlothian PTO treasurer accused of embezzling funds

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on January 7, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 7 at 11:40 PM

MIDLOTHIAN — A Midlothian woman is accused of stealing more than $24,000 from the elementary school where she served as treasurer of the Parent Teacher Organization.

Police say Christie Norwood, 33, charged beer, groceries — even an RV stay in Oklahoma — to the PTO credit card.

Norwood was the treasurer of the Parent Teacher Organization at T.E. Baxter Elementary School in Midlothian for a year-and-a-half. During that stretch of time, she had sole access to the PTO's bank accounts, according to her arrest warrant.

Police said that's how she was able to plunder the account.

"I'm just completely shocked," said Robert Cato, who is vice president of the Midlothian Youth Football League. He said Norwood served as team mom, and he also considers her a friend.

"When you start taking from the kids, they are completely innocent in all of this... there's nothing worse. Absolutely nothing worse," he said.

According to the arrest warrant, Norwood charged beer, groceries, food, clothes, gas and even a visit to the Winstar Casino RV Park in Oklahoma to the PTO card.

Police said Norwood stole $24,182.22 from the PTO, which should have been spent on school spirit events, gifts for teachers, and even to help support financially struggling families.

Midlothian ISD released this statement:

"Midlothian ISD appreciates parents who volunteer and support the booster clubs and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO), which benefit Midlothian schools and students. The MISD administration was informed of the ongoing investigation and the matter being handled by local authorities and PTO. The district has and will cooperate with both the local authorities and the PTO. All Midlothian booster clubs and PTOs are non-profit organizations that have their own bank accounts, guidelines, and board members. These organizations are separate entities that support Midlothian ISD and its schools."

Cato said his team fell victim, too. He said Norwood collected money from parents for team T-shirts, but never paid the vendor.

He said the kids are hurt most, especially Norwood's own kids. Cato is telling his team not to blame them.

"We reiterated to them that they had nothing to do with it," he said. "There's no way a 12-year-old can get wrapped up in this. They're innocent victims in this."

News 8 went to Norwood's home twice on Monday evening, but no one answered the door.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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