Suspects plead guilty; plan to return money to PTA

A Grand Haven couple have agreed to return $8,700 to the Ferry Elementary School PTA as part of an agreement to settle their embezzlement case.
Becky Vargo
Sep 24, 2013

Melissa Moore and Adam Youngs entered guilty pleas Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court to charges of embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000. The pleas were in exchange for time to pay back the money to the organization.

Moore resigned as PTA treasurer in late May. She told Judge Ed Post that she converted the stolen money, which her attorney said was just over $20,000, for her own use.

Youngs told the judge he “benefited from the conversion” and knew what his wife was doing.

Their attorney, James Piper, noted that the agreement called for a repayment on Monday of $9,700, but some of that money needs to come from the bond money they had paid.

Post agreed that they could pay $8,700 on Monday, and then a minimum of $500 a month for eight months to pay the rest of the amount.

A Nov. 4 sentencing date will be delayed for eight months if the couple is meeting the terms of the plea agreement.

Ferry Elementary School Principal Steve Avram told the Tribune for a June story that he was notified a week earlier about discrepancies in the PTA’s checking and savings accounts.

The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety announced Moore’s arrest on July 9. Her husband was arraigned in Ottawa County District Court on July 31.

The police investigation of the embezzlement covered a time frame of Aug. 1, 2012, to May 29, 2013, Post noted during Monday's hearing.

The missing money caused confusion, but PTA members were still able to put on the school's end-of-the-year celebration.

PTA Vice President Andrea Dress said the embezzlement affected a lot of families and left the organization with a mess to deal with.

“They’ve stolen quite a bit from me personally — my time,” she said. “They’ve taken quite a lot.”

PTA President Melissa Poll, who attended Monday's hearing, said: “We’re excited as we leave today. I’m hopeful of getting anything back.”

Poll said they would address the embezzlement situation at the PTA's first meeting of the new school year, which is set for 7 tonight in the school’s art room. The meeting will be moved to the gym if there is a large crowd, she said.

Poll said parent and staff support has been “fabulous” throughout the summer.

“I do 'school of choice' to send my children to Ferry,” she said. “I couldn’t be more happy with my decision.”
 

Comments

BucCrazy

Really? Bright orange sweatshirt? They've got a matching suit for you.

MacUser

Nice choice of colthing colors! Too bad they won't be going to prison for this. I'm sure the PTA will be able to rebound from this. Now is a time for the community to come together to help support Melissa and the rest of the PTA staff to build a great program and help our children thrive!

jbvermurlen

They should have been put in jail!!!!! No different than robbing a bank. This was a slap on the hand, and probly will happen again.
What a joke!!! Way to go justice system you let everyone down

LessThanAmused

Yup, those are some classy folks. Quite literally stealing from children and for what? Big screen TV? New computer? Drugs?
Somebody should just give them a good beathing about the head and shoulders just on general principles.

deuce liti

"White Justice"

LakeshoreMomOf2

I have to say that the "sentence" they received for this FELONY crime is RIDICULOUS! They knowingly and willfully took money that DID NOT belong to them! And then they go running to their families to bale them out! Disgusting! They have shamed their own families--especially their older daughter who went to that school (and unfortunately she knew what was going on after this story originally came out!). Their blasé attitude is PATHETIC! You can see by looking at those pictures that she looks like she could care less! And trust me, that IS how these 2 think--they feel like it's no big deal! I pray to God that their children can make it through their childhood unscathed by this, but I HIGHLY doubt it, and that is just one more crime to add to the list! Also, this is NOT the first time good old Melissa has had sticky fingers--she's stolen from quite a few people and other organizations. And Adam has always benefitted from her thievery! She might have been the one to actually do the crimes, but he was RIGHT there with her spending that money! I hope they BOTH rot for what they've done to their OWN children, Ferry School and the PTA! And I sure hope they have the good grace to never show their useless faces here in GH ever again!

WestItaly

This is absolutely INSANE. These people knowingly, willingly and without remorse Stole from the public and Children at a school that really needed that money. For them to say Oh we will pay it back out of our bond money and then $500 a month to equal $12,700 when the say they stole 20k, something is wrong. Why WHY are these people Not in JAIL. I made a mistake once in desperation to put food on the table and I was without any history of crime. There was nothing lost and I was the one who helped get it all cleared up. I was tossed into Ottawa County Jail for 3 months, got 2 years probation and fined. I was the only person in my family able to work. Very educated and In a short time I found a very good 100k+ job that started the next day of me going to court. The suggestion was 6-12 months probation. The courts knew I had a job waiting with proof and that I was the only bread winner as my wife is disabled. The day of court I respected the system and dressed professionally(not in a zip up sweatshirt)rather a suit and tie and shared the good that I have done and took responsibility for my mistake and was tossed in Jail that very day, No time to get things in order or explain to try and keep my job or even say good by to my family.....So what makes these people so much better. This $%^& county is corrupt in its judicial system. everyone knows it but nobody does anything! For those reading please tell me what makes this different. Other than these people viciously committed a crime over time to go on a spending spree and have fun whereas I made a split second mistake in which I was trying to keep food and shelter for my family. Does not make any logical sense.

Tell me why?

For those of you nitpicking over grammar and spelling. I wrote this on my mobile device so there may be some mistakes.

LakeshoreMomOf2

You are preaching to the Choir! They stole that money over several months' time and TOTALLY think it's okay! Just because her family bailed her out and paid back SOME of the money to the PTA should NOT mean all is forgiven! They are losers, and as depicted by her sour face in court and his ratty "dress up" clothes, show that they couldn't care LESS about what they did! It's RIDICULOUS and a slap in the face to EVERY PTA member, at Ferry OR any other school! Those kids (and parents) worked HARD to raise that money--just to have those 2 losers blow it all on JUNK--and YES, they DID get a bigger TV during the period that they were stealing. I could go on and on, but I won't! I am so sick of this country and the wishy-washy way they hand out "justice". It's a damn joke! Just like those 2 are!

blacksheepmomma8

This is not even right. These two steal money from children, and get away with it? They stole from a school, from children, from families. Sounds to me like they need to go to a federal prison. Anytime you steal something from children who can't defend themselves you should be punished. Oh no not these two. They had their parents bail them out of this mess. Let's give a round of applause to their parents for raising some outstanding sticky finger theives. Good job mom and dad. Hope your proud of your daughter and her husband now! If they can do this and still manage to get away with it, what exactly is this teaching their own kids. Look out america we've got some future thieves coming to rob you blind here in just a matter or a few years. To LakeshoreMomof2 sound to me like you know these two kleptoes pretty well. Well I know them too! And I am so ashamed to say that I know them both. I do know that from this moment on they are on their own. I don't want to see them, talk to them or look at them. I will not ever help them out ever again. I want nothing more to do with them. I feel bad for their kids, cause them kids will not grow up with a good lifestyle. Or maybe they will cause they will just steal what they need for them kids. It just discusts me, how some of us have to work for a living, and still struggle to make ends meet, and these two are handed everything they need on a silver platter. Its just hog wash. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they're not. What a bunch of loosers and dead beats. Then their kids will never amount to anything either.

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