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Woman sentenced for stealing from school club

A Gresham woman has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to stealing $11,000 from a local parent-teacher club.

Kristen Michael Soprito, 42, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Youlee Kim You on Oct. 16. A hearing to determine how much she must pay in restitution is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

Police arrested Soprito in June on four counts of first-degree theft following a six-month investigation into allegations that she embezzled thousands of dollars from the Kelly Creek Elementary School Parent-Teacher Club. Soprito was the former treasurer of the club, which raises money for extras that benefit the school.

Detectives determined that she stole nearly $17,000 from the club’s fund between August 2009 and October 2011, but paid about $6,000 of it back before she was caught.

The judge dropped two of the four theft counts in exchange for Soprito pleading guilty to two of them. She was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation, 10 days of jail time that she can serve on weekends, 160 hours of community service and continued mental health counseling as recommended by her therapist.

The case came to light a year ago when Gresham police began their investigation. It happened to coincide with another embezzlement case involving another woman who stole money from a different school’s parent-teacher club fund. In that case, Jenifer Lynn Sayles, 35, of Gresham pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and identity theft, for which she received the same sentence that Soprito did. Sayles, however, has paid full restitution for the more than $11,000 she stole from the East Orient Elementary and West Orient Middle schools’ PTA fund.

Students raise money for the parent-teacher clubs by selling entertainment books, gift cards, cookie dough, movie tickets and holiday greenery, and hosting events such as jog-a-thons and sock hops, among other fundraisers. Money raised is earmarked for field trips, books and classroom computers.

Both clubs have since bolstered their accounting systems to avoid future financial crimes.




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