San Diego

Former Imperial Beach PTA Treasurer Arrested in Alleged Embezzling

A former Imperial Beach PTA treasurer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzling thousands from the school, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Kaitlyn Birchman is accused of stealing between $25,000 and $40,000 in funds meant for Imperial Beach Charter School students, according to current PTA officials.

She was taken into custody by the Temecula Police Department at her Riverside home, deputies said.

A felony warrant was obtained back in November and put in the system for Birchman's arrest, according to SDSO.

On Wednesday, San Diego deputies went to Riverside to interview Birchman. Officials said she cooperated with the investigation and spoke about the allegations against her.

Elizabeth McKay, the current PTA treasurer, told NBC 7 Wednesday that she thinks justice has been served.

"Definitely a huge sense of relief," she said regarding Birchman's arrest. "This has been ongoing for a long time and I think it is going to bring closure to all of our families and the new PTA board trying to move forward."

McKay said PTA members have had parents tell them directly that they wouldn't join the PTA after the accusations against Birchman were brought to light.

"All we could do is just promise that we would be 100 percent transparent and let them know that our finances are open for their review," McKay said.

McKay and current president Amber Vissuet told NBC 7 last August that during an 18-month period, Birchman allegedly lied about the group's finances.

They said she reportedly emptied out its bank account, collected money from members for bills but failed to pay invoices, and spent the PTA's money on personal items and on family trips.

“It’s a hard lesson to share with your kids that adults you trust and you think are good people are capable of doing something like this,” McKay said in August.

Birchman posted bond after her arrest, according to deputies.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department Financial Crimes Unit is handling the investigation.

The PTA's next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m.

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