The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

May 24, 2013

Ex-PTO officers in court on embezzlement charges

HERMITAGE — Two women accused of stealing more than $35,000 from the Hermitage Parent-Teacher Organization turned themselves in at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Hermitage police station.

Kelly Vocaire, 41, of 158 N. Buhl Farm Drive, and Gina M. Grata, 45, or 293 Butterfly Lane, both Hermitage, were taken before District Judge Ronald Antos, Farrell, for arraignment.

Both are charged with theft and conspiracy to commit theft.

Grata, former executive PTO president, is accused of stealing $10,181 from the organization and Vocaire, former PTO treasurer, is accused of stealing $25,299. The money was taken between May 2012 and March, police said.

Grata told police May 1 that she asked Vocaire if she could borrow $1,500 from the organization to cover a personal bill and received a check. Grata told police she tried to pay back the loan but Vocaire wouldn’t allow it because an unexplained deposit in the group’s accounts would raise suspicion, according to court papers.

Grata later requested and got more checks to “pay bills and other stuff,” police said. She admitted taking $7,000 to $8,000 from the PTO, police said.

The theft was discovered after other PTO officers sought financial records from Vocaire and were refused. They obtained monthly statements and canceled checks from the PTO’s bank that indicated checks written to Vocaire and Grata but couldn’t find invoices to match, police said.

Police said 68 checks made payable to Vocaire and 13 to Grata.

Vocaire declined to be interviewed by police, they said.

Grata’s mother, Ann Marie Morocco, said her daughter has been with the PTO for 13 years. “She has put her whole heart and soul into the school,” Morocco said.

Tina Liguori, a friend of Grata’s, was in court with Morocco for the arraignment.

“She has spent her time and money out of her own pocket numerous times and never complained about it,” Liguori said of Grata’s commitment to the PTO.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Morocco said.

Morocco and Liguori said they’re supporting Grata 100 percent through the court proceedings and said there are many people and teachers from Hermitage schools who would do the same.

Grata, represented by Randall Hetrick, and Vocaire, represented by Ronald D. Amrhein waived the reading of charges and were read their rights.

Each was released after posting $10,000 bond. Antos set their preliminary hearings for 9 a.m. June 6.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo