Deer Park PTO treasurer facing theft & forgery charges

Staff Writer

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deer Park School Resource Deputy Dan Dutton requested a summons charging Deer Park Elementary PTO Treasurer Teesha M. Lutrick, 32, with multiple felony theft and forgery charges.
Through his investigation, Dutton located over $25, 000 in fraudulent charges and checks suspected to have been made by the treasurer over a three-year timeframe. The investigation began when the current PTO officers reported their suspicions and contacted the Deer Park Superintendent Travis Hanson.
In mid-October Dutton met with Hanson and current Deer Park Elementary PTO officers. They reported they suspected Lutrick fraudulently used her position as PTO treasurer to steal more than $25,000 of PTO funds over the last three years.
Analyzing the provided PTO bank records, Dutton identified approximately $15,914 in suspicious debit card charges and ATM withdrawals made between September 2016 and September 2019. He also located 19 PTO checks, totaling approximately $10,143 that were written to and endorsed by Lutrick.
All of these charges, withdrawals, and checks were inconsistent with normal PTO activities, and none of the current or past PTO Officials believed they were legitimate.
Dutton contacted Lutrick, advised her of her rights, and conducted an interview regarding the suspected criminal activity. During the interview, Lutrick admitted to stealing the PTO funds.
She said she signed the checks with a fictitious signature, made online purchases from various retail outlets and utilities because she, at first, wanted to have better things. These funds were used to pay for vacations, airline tickets, and make miscellaneous purchases at retail stores, such as Costco and Ace Hardware, and bills for Avista, Waste Management services.
She said recently, the thefts were made of necessity to pay her bills and that none of these purchases or withdrawals were authorized PTO expenditures, and she wanted to take full responsibility for her actions.
With this information establishing probable cause, Dutton submitted an affidavit to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office requesting a summons, charging Lutrick with two counts of first-degree theft and 19 counts of forgery.