JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- She was entrusted to protect the hard-earned money of the Chatfield Senior High School girls' volleyball team.
Now, Kathleen McGrath is accused of stealing it.
And it’s not the first time she’s faced similar accusations.
McGrath has a daughter on the school’s volleyball team.
It was a winning season for Chatfield’s girls' volleyball team last year.
But they were losing every cent in their boosters' club bank account, according to police.
“These cases are taken very seriously.”
Peter Weir, the District Attorney for the First Judicial District says, McGrath, 56, the booster club’s treasurer, is charged with embezzling nearly $10,000 from her daughter’s team.
Instead of safeguarding the money, investigators say she went on a shopping spree.
“As folks know that have kids in high school or junior high school, fundraising efforts take an awful lot of work on behalf of an awful lot of people. So, frankly, it’s small amounts of money over an extended period of time that results in close to $10,000 being in an account that’s now been depleted,” says Weir.
And he worries it could have a chilling effect on future fundraising for the team.
Investigators say McGrath spent the stolen money at Costco, Wal-Mart and Verizon, on things like: two sets of four tires, cigarettes, food and pre-paid cash cards.
Investigators say not only did she drain the account of $9,976.97, she left it $314.38 in the hole.
It’s something she’s accused of doing before.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office says she pleaded not guilty in December to stealing $170,000 from her previous employer, Metro Construction, where she worked as a bookkeeper.
“Once she gets off work, a lot later on,” says McGrath’s adult son, about when his mother would be home.
The family lives on a multi-acre ranch on Roxborough Park Road.
She did not call us with a comment.
“It takes a lot and takes a lot of other people’s commitment and work,” says one Chatfield student who didn’t want to give her name about fundraising efforts in general.
Students and parents say the accusations are sad.
“We spend so much time fundraising stuff. And it just takes a lot to fund raise a bunch. The fact that she took that much money is insane,” says another student.
“All of the fundraising is private funding, so who she has ripped off are the kids, the parents and everyone who has personal interest in the sport itself,” says parent Alan Fitzwater.
McGrath also pleaded guilty to theft in a 2009 Cherry Hills Village case.
She received a deferred sentence and community service. She was also ordered to pay $7,770.40 in restitution.
She could go to prison for up to six years if convicted in the new case.
She’s due in court for the Jefferson County case Monday, March 24—and in Denver court Thursday, March 20.