Former school district employee charged with theft

March 19, 2014
Washington High School’sd sign outside the school on Jefferson Avenue in Washington. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A former secretary for Washington School District assigned to handle the student activities account was charged Wednesday by Washington police with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

Tammy Rhea Aloia, 43, of 6006 Stonecreek Lane, South Strabane Township, is accused of stealing more than $24,000 from the activities account by failing to make deposits between Oct. 30, 2009, and Dec. 31.

The theft was discovered in an audit of the district books in late 2013 by Cypher & Cypher.

“The auditors saw some discrepancies in the activities account,” said Dr. Roberta DiLorenzo, school district superintendent. “It appeared to be minor. But once we started looking into it and cross-referencing and other checks and balances, we continued to uncover even greater discrepancies.”

The investigation showed $24,653 missing from the account.

DiLorenzo said this account is one of only a few in the district where cash is handled. She said the money is from fundraisers and for activities like field trips for different clubs.

Richard Mancini, school district business manager, sent Aloia an email Jan. 30 asking her to provide the balances on the account as soon as possible. Aloia reportedly called off work the following day and deposited $16,886 of her own money into the student activities account using money orders, teller checks, personal checks and cash. The district also found a teller check from First Niagara bank from April 2010 in Aloia’s name that was deposited for a total reimbursement of $19,909.

City police Officer Todd Foreman, the district’s school resource officer, said the complaint filed against Aloia indicated there were multiple shortages. Aloia is accused of making transfers from different accounts to avoid negative balances and avoid discovering the missing money.

Aloia, who was employed by the district for the last 12 years primarily as a secretary at Washington Park School, submitted her resignation, which was accepted by the school board in February.

DiLorenzo said the situation is disappointing and painful.

“We have to depend on everyone in the organization to do his or her job,” DiLorenzo said. “We are all working together for the betterment of the district and students. To discover this is very troublesome and hurtful.”

DiLorenzo said this is an isolated case and the district followed policy and procedures.

Foreman said he has had no contact with Aloia and does not know why she allegedly took the money.

The charge will be sent by summons from the office of District Judge Robert Redlinger. A preliminary hearing will be scheduled before Redlinger.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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