Less than two months after the discovery that two former Middleboro PTA officers were draining an account meant for children, authorities now have one conviction and are seeking a second.
37 year-old Sharon Ellis and 45 year-old Douglas Russell, both parents of Middleboro students, were charged with an embezzling scheme that bilked over $30,000 from the kids’ account. Ellis pled guilty on Tuesday and was put on probation for 5 years.
Wareham District Court Judge Christopher Welch also ordered Ellis to pay back more than $18,000 by Friday, to undergo a mental health evaluation, provide a DNA sample and told her to stay away from fundraising for the rest of her life.
The law requires anyone convicted of a felony to provide a DNA sample to the state’s database, said Assistant Plymouth County District Attorney Russell Eonas.
Eonas said the state was asking that Ellis be put on probation for two years and that he was happy that Judge Welch more than doubled the recommendation to 5 years. Parent Mark Belanger knew Ellis and said he is satisfied with her guilty plea and willingness to pay back what she stole. Others who knew her said they were shocked when the charges surfaced. Another parent, Teresa Farley, said volunteers now feel betrayed, and she fears Ellis’s conviction will make it harder for the PTA to raise money. Farley said she knows Ellis and described her as a good person who did something horrible.
Russell will face the embezzlement charges at a pretrial hearing on July 30.