Prosecutor: Linwood, NJ, Woman Stole $150,000 From PTO, Street Hockey Club
A Linwood woman who was named that city's citizen of the year in 2018 is now facing charges after authorities say she stole more than $150,000 from two groups in her town.
53-year-old Laurie Montgomery was the treasurer of the Linwood Parent-teacher Organization and the Linwood Street Hockey Association.
She has been arrested and charged with two counts of theft by failing to make the required disposition of property received, crimes of the third and second degree.
According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, an investigation began in August 2021 when members of the Linwood PTO suspected that Montgomery was misappropriating funds and failing to maintain an accurate ledger for the organization.
It was discovered that Montgomery withdrew money from the account for events wholly unrelated to organization events. She presented members of the board with a false balance sheet purportedly indicating there was more than $20,000.00 in the account when the actual bank statements showed less than $2,000.00 remained.
A review of bank statements from 2017 through 2021 showed that more than $34,000 was allegedly used by Montgomery for personal use.
While investigating Montgomery’s role as PTO treasurer, detectives found a suspicious check made payable by her to the Linwood Street Hockey Association. Further investigation into the Linwood Street Hockey Association account, of which Montgomery was also the treasurer, yielded misappropriation of funds in that account as well.
Detectives say they discovered more than $150,000 was allegedly stolen and used by Montgomery for her personal use.
Detectives found she had made checks payable to the PTO, her family members, and used the account debit card to withdraw cash and make personal purchases both in New Jersey and out of state.
Linwood's citizen of the year
According to The Press of Atlantic City, Montgomery was named Linwood's citizen of the year in 2018.
At the time, she said, "I am so honored to be recognized by the city. We live in a great town and I am happy to be a part of so many activities and organizations in Linwood."
Potential prison time
If convicted, Montgomery faces up to 10 years in state prison.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.