The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 25, 2013

Arrest warrant issued for Seneca PTO treasurer; woman accused of stealing more than $25,000

SENECA, Mo. — An arrest warrant has been issued for the treasurer of the Seneca Parent-Teacher Organization on a charge of stealing more than $25,000 from the organization.

Tabitha L. Lant, 28, of Seneca, was charged Tuesday in Newton County Circuit Court with felony theft.

A probable-cause affidavit, filed by Seneca police Chief James Altic, states that Seneca PTO President Lacie Graham had been contacted by People’s Bank of Seneca regarding insufficient funds in the PTO checking account. A review of the accounts reportedly revealed several unexplained and unauthorized purchases by Lant. A further review determined that Lant allegedly misappropriated at least $25,199.86.

Seneca police acquired video from Wal-Mart showing Lant using the PTO debit card for personal use, according to the affidavit.

Lant’s PTO debit card transactions reportedly were tracked at locations including Tropical Tan, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and several gas stations.

Altic noted that when a search warrant was served at Lant’s home, she was cooperative after receiving her Miranda warning that she had the right to remain silent.

According to the affidavit, Lant admitted that she had used the PTO money for personal expenses after going through a divorce. According to the affidavit, she offered to pay back $5,000 now and the rest later.

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