Booster charged with stealing band funds
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
February 02, 2013 12:20 AM | 11564 views | 16 16 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Wheeler High School’s Vice President of Bingo for the Band Booster Club is accused of embezzling more than $40,000 from the school fund.

Dawn Brown Martin, 50, was arrested Friday morning on charges of felony theft by taking. As of Friday night, she remained in the Cobb County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

According to the warrant, Martin is accused of taking $40,117.25 between Jan. 2 and Oct. 4, 2012.

“(Martin) held the position within the band booster club of vice president of bingo,” according to the warrant. “They held fundraisers at the VFW in Marietta to raise money for the Wheeler High School Band.”

She is accused of taking the money home from the fundraisers and making monthly deposits into personal accounts.

“It is unfortunate and disappointing that this situation has occurred,” said Jay Dillon, spokesman for Cobb Schools.

Dillon said the booster club’s strict accounting protocols led to the discovery of the missing funds.

“This case will be prosecuted in the legal system, and we intend to take whatever steps are available to recover the lost funds,” he said.

Dillon said booster clubs are in charge of their own finances, without any oversight from the school system. And in this case, the booster club was able to identify financial discrepancies on its own.

“If a booster club has reason to suspect something is amiss, they can ask the school and the district to step in and audit the books,” he added. “That was not necessary in this case as the missing funds were identified through a comparison of account records.”

This is not the first time someone has been arrested at a Cobb public school, much less Wheeler, in connection with stealing funds from a booster club account.

In October 2010, the former treasurer of Wheeler’s cheerleading booster club was arrested in connection with taking $27,297 from the Wheeler Cheer Association sometime between January 2008 and February 2010.

In May 2012, a Kennesaw woman was arrested and charged with taking more than $2,000 from the Sprayberry High School track and field booster team.

She, too, was the treasurer of the club and reportedly withdrew $2,257.02 from the booster club’s account and deposited it into her own account from June to August 2011.

In the fall of 2011, two women were arrested and charged in separate cases of theft after one was accused of stealing $5,350.25 from the Pebblebrook High School track team and a second is accused of stealing $4,058.53 from Powers Ferry Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association funds.
Comments
(16)
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Randy in Marietta
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February 05, 2013
Where are all these thiefs coming from

in Cobb County.Tax payer money paying

this type individual..
Luke Duke
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February 04, 2013
It's very hard to get some one as good as Mrs. Martin!!! Maybe the walrus can replace her!!!
VPof Bingo???
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February 04, 2013
Wow, VP of Bingo? Must have made her feel very important. Something we should all aspire to. How sad for her children...
sammisla
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February 04, 2013
ALL booster clubs should be monitored by the BOE as they are HUGE organizations collecting large amounts of money from parents for their children to "play". It has become ridiculous how sports teams, and bands feel the necessity to travel, especially in this economy. My children didn't play club sports because we couldn't afford the travel, yet now they are obligated to travel with their high school teams, and the booster club expects parents to pay for it. It is out of control. Few parents making decisions for all, coaches who will do anything to win, and those parents who feel powerful by controlling the purse strings. I would challenge the MDJ to do a real investigative piece on booster clubs.. give us something substantive on this topic, not just the fluff and gossip.
ckimb60
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February 23, 2013
Obviously, you really don't know that much about Booster clubs. I am the VP for a band booster in Cobb county and it is a very tough job. I am in charge of all fundraising and it is very challenging. It is sad how much money we have to raise for our children to get to just compete in local competitions.The county and taxpayers (like myself) pay for very little. We have to buy our own band uniforms. All of the instruments are old and the students have to keep them maintained. This lady is one of those situations where one bad apple makes it look bad for everyone. Not all students pay the dues that are required from the booster association and everyone realizes that the economy is bad. We try to get everyone to participate in fundraising to help offset these costs. Should you ever be on the board you will realize how it is an extra tough job where the only true reward is giving.

anonymous
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February 02, 2013
These men and women obviously don't follow the news or they would know they always get caught.

Can you imagine the heartbreak for this woman's children? What a sad situation.
Rockin mom
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February 02, 2013
They're just following in the footsteps of the man they no doubt voted for for president.

As Hillary Clinton says, "What difference does it all make?"
Elnuestros
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February 03, 2013
How tough it must be for you to get through the day hobbled to a mind that weak.
AnotherBandParent
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February 03, 2013
Really? Wow.

Just... Wow.

For all you know, the accused might've voted for Mitt. Or Gary Johnson.

What on earth does your comment have to do with the story?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
|
February 02, 2013
B-1

U-23

S-14

T-7

E-3

D-40

BUSTED!
Just Wait
|
February 02, 2013
Sure seems these booster and PTA folks have a real problem with sticky fingers.
Bonding?
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February 02, 2013
Whether any of these booster clubs had bothered to get bonding to protect assets should have been asked, and if not, why. As I have said repeatedly in the past, Cobb schools should require bonding for all the school related clubs that solicit monies from it's members. I'm sure the reason Cobb BOE allows the clubs to be autonomous in handling the funds is liability. They feel they can't be sued if they did not have oversight. This is yet another example of mismanagement by Cobb BOE which has spent millions on a well connected legal firm because of a dysfunctional board, but can't seem to bother with protecting parents and students at individual schools.

Also the GA PTA should require it for all pta organizations in the state. Surely a reasonable group cost could be worked out with an insurance company that would also get positive exposure for helping schools. Compared to other commercial bonding situations, the amounts here are relatively low for most of these types of organizations and clubs. So the premiums should reflect that. Unfortunately common sense is in short supply around here so year after year we'll keep hearing about how awful it is that a trusted parent stole money from our kids.
Tracey Alberts
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February 03, 2013
Just so we are all clear, Cobb schools, by not following the Georgia PTA requirements of all of their organizations within the state, should be accused of mismanagement. On, the other hand, if they DO go above and beyond those requirements and take over private moneymaking enterprises associated with the schools, as you strongly suggest, and this happened they would be accused of mismanagement. Gotcha. Just so we know where you are coming from. Individual responsibility is dead in your world.
club advisor
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February 03, 2013
Why aren't the officers of all PYA and booster clubs bonded? Because of the cost. If money was taken from the group's funds to bond all officers of all the cobb county clubs and PTA it would be about 3000 people (16 HS times 15 groups times 6 officers, 25 MS times 5 groups times 6 officers, 66 ES times 2 groups times 6 officers). If one could get a great rate (1,000 deductable) at $25/year each this would be $75,000 per year. (I pay much more for my personal liability policy)

This is not cost effective for the benefit. So, do we ask volunteers to pay for a bond to volunteer?
Former Band Parent
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February 02, 2013
I hope this person does get prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The funds from bingo allow Wheeler to keep band participation affordable for many students who would struggle to pay higher band fees. I don't understand how anyone can be around these students and then try to steal opportunities from them. Despicable.
anonymous
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February 03, 2013
This is the problem with the taking mentality. They all DESERVE it, don't you know?

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