A former Hawthorne Elementary School parent-teacher organization president has been barred from contacting the PTO or any of its members shortly after she was criminally charged for stealing more than $14,000 from the organization.

The no-contact orders were imposed Monday, April 11, in Waukesha County Circuit Court on 38-year-old Jaime Cutts, who is facing a felony charge of theft in a business setting of greater than $10,000, court records show.

Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper made the ruling during Cutts' initial appearance. She was charged March 25, a few weeks after she reportedly admitted to police that she stole the money from the PTO to pay for mounting personal expenses.

Cutts's next court hearing is scheduled for April 25.

According to a criminal complaint, Hawthorne's newly elected PTO president, Amy Lemm, contacted the Waukesha Police Department about the theft on Feb. 6, though officials became aware of the missing money weeks earlier.

Lemm said she was told in November 2015 that Cutts, who was elected PTO president in 2015, stole $14,372 from the organization between Jan. 1, 2015 and Oct. 31. Cutts said in the complaint that she ran into financial problems and used the PTO bank card to take money out of ATMs.

Bank statements for the PTO provided to police verified money was stolen from the organization, the complaint said.

Cutts said she planned to and did pay some of the money back, the complaint notes. She told police, according to the complaint, that in August 2015 she deposited $5,000 back into the PTO account.

PTO response

The charges against Cutts come more than a few months after the PTO began taking measures to correct the situation.

In a memo to Hawthorne parents on Jan. 11, a PTO representative said the organization confronted Cutts, who wasn't named at the time, about the missing funds and she took full responsibility and was cooperating.

The PTO — which had sought the guidance of the district and met with the district's chief financial officer to outline suggested money-handling procedures — voided and eliminated all of the debit cards that had been put in place a few years prior.

The PTO also said in the memo that it had worked out an agreement to make sure the funds would be repaid before the end of the school year. To date, more than 45 percent of the funds have been repaid.

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