PTA president who stole from group given service hours, fine

Merridy Senger pleaded guilty in August to stealing about $5,000 from the PTA’s account in 2017.

EVERETT — The former Hawthorne Elementary PTA president who stole more than $5,000 from the school’s PTA will avoid jail time on a first-time offender waiver.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard T. Okrent sentenced Merridy Senger, 30, on Friday to 80 hours of community service and ordered her to pay more than $10,000 in restitution.

Senger pleaded guilty in August to first-degree theft, identify theft, three counts of second-degree identity theft and forgery.

In spring 2017, a $5,000 Hawthorne Elementary PTA check bounced. When other members asked Senger if they could review the books, she gave them a binder and a Ziploc bag full of receipts. Shortly after, colleagues recognized bogus charges, and Senger resigned.

Everett police later found more than $15,000 missing from the PTA’s account.

Charging papers allege she made out 27 checks to her then-fiance. The memos said they were for things like ice cream, T-shirts, tables and field days. Of those, 15 were identified by police as being fraudulent, totaling $5,659.31. Eleven of the checks, or some $4,000, couldn’t conclusively be proven illegitimate. Security footage shows Senger depositing the checks at a U.S. Bank branch.

Additionally, the PTA required two signatures on checks. One member told a detective his name was forged on 22 checks.

In July, a judge ordered a $15,000 bench warrant after she missed a court hearing. After she missed her August court date, her attorney said she was at a funeral and would make it to court later that week, which she did.

Previously, Senger failed to appear for two other court dates in February and April.

Court records indicate she may be homeless.

In a written report submitted to the judge, a social worker said the defendant had a traumatic childhood and later became addicted to prescription opioids after a surgery. The social worker said Senger has agreed to drug treatment which would be more beneficial than jail time.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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