INDIO, Calif .– – A former president and treasurer of an Indio primary school, PTA, is expected to have a court hearing, allegedly hijacking more than $ 22,000 from the association.
Danny Cervantes, 35, of Indio, is charged with robbery for taking $ 22,043 over a 10-month period using a debit card issued to him at the helm of Herbert Hoover Elementary School PTA . He is scheduled to appear in court this morning for a crime settlement conference.
Cervantes was appointed President and Treasurer of the PTA in October 2016 because of his experience as an accountant. According to one arrest warrant statement, he was notably responsible for "balancing books, issuing checks / payments, purchasing and making deposits".
Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Indio.
Cervantes made withdrawals from his account and "vehemently" avoided providing bank statements or updates on the association's finances to other PTA members, according to the statement.
The embezzlement would have started shortly after his appointment. Indio police opened an investigation last fall when a teacher at Hoover Elementary announced they found copies of bank statements that allegedly revealed "excessive ATM / cashier activity", which was unusual because the PTA "dealt rarely cash and especially written checks or used the debit card to pay for items. & # 39; & # 39;
She also told the police that "because of her comfort and long-standing friendship with Danny, she never suspected the existence of wrongdoing," she says. the statement.
The police obtained video and photographic evidence showing that Cervantes had made transactions in various ATMs in the area.
When questioned by Indio detectives, he allegedly denied having made the transactions and said other people had access to the debit card. But when confronted with pictures of his withdrawals at an ATM, he allegedly admitted to having taken the money and would have written a letter of apology to the school to inform him that he would repay the missing funds, according to the police.