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Former treasurer charged with stealing $30,000 from Malden charter school PTO

A former treasurer for the Parent-Teacher Organization at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden is facing felony charges of stealing more than $30,000 from the group’s accounts, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.

Ami R. Wood, 41, of Peabody became treasurer of the group in 2009, the district attorney’s office said. Wood allegedly started diverting money from the organization by writing checks to herself and her husband, said Ryan’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Guyotte.

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The money was allegedly used to cover personal expenses and bills, Guyotte said.

Wood, a former Malden resident, is charged with three counts of larceny over $250 and falsifying or omitting entries in the group’s record books. She was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on Aug. 13 and released on personal recognizance, Guyotte said.

Wood could not immediately be reached for comment. Her husband has not been charged.

Questions about the organization’s books arose when “some irregularities were discovered in [Wood’s] accounting,” Mystic Valley PTO president Priya Rajan said in an e-mail to the Globe. “The PTO conducted an internal audit and discovered that funds had been misappropriated from the PTO accounts. This matter was immediately referred to the authorities and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office and the former treasurer was removed from office.”

Rajan declined to provide additional details, citing the ongoing criminal case.

However, she noted the group has implemented a number of policy changes to prevent any financial improprieties in the future.

“We have made dual approval mandatory for all expenses and made cash transactions more restrictive,” Rajan said.

Trustees of the highly ranked charter school declined to comment.

“As you know, there is an ongoing investigation regarding alleged misappropriation of PTO funds,” said Thomas E. Brennan, secretary of the board of trustees. “As the PTO is an independent organization, you should direct any question you may have to them.”

Brenda J. Buote may be reached at brenda.buote@gmail.com.
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