$13,500 check given to education foundation by husband of woman charged with embezzlement

The husband of a woman who is accused of embezzling from a nonprofit that supports students at Santa Rosa's Montgomery High School gave the organization a check for $13,500, almost the total allegedly stolen.

Paul Schwartz also included a typed letter with the certified check in which he promised to pay back the full amount lost, according to a board member for the Montgomery High School Education Foundation.

Jan Schwartz, the group's former treasurer, was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of embezzlement and 20 counts of forgery.

The correspondence from her husband was found Monday at the school in the nonprofit's in-box.

"It (the letter) expressed a desire to do what they could to remedy things," said Libby Hutton, a board member for the education foundation.

"We're very relieved and gratified that they did this," she said.

But Santa Rosa police on Monday said the investigation involving Jan Schwartz, 48, had widened to include two more nonprofits that she volunteered for.

Det. Chris Parman said the nonprofits, which he did not identify, contacted police to report discrepancies in their finances.

He said investigators are pursuing those leads. Schwartz is scheduled for arraignment June 7.

Jan Schwartz spoke publicly for the first time Monday and responded to reports of a widening investigation.

"It is extremely unfortunate that someone would make these statements and false allegations at a time when our family is trying to correct and respond in the right manner to a difficult situation," Schwartz said.

"Someone is acting very irresponsibly and it is very hurtful," she said.

Parman said the check her husband gave to the education foundation does not minimize the allegations against her.

"It still doesn't get rid of the crime," he said. "She took money that didn't belong to her, that was entrusted to her."

Hutton said the foundation's board has not taken a position on whether Schwartz should be prosecuted.

Board members contacted police last Tuesday after the alleged theft was discovered.

"We want to be made whole financially," Hutton said. "That's our primary concern."

Paul Schwartz, a commercial real estate agent, declined comment Monday.

The $13,500 he gave to the education foundation is between $1,500 and $2,000 less than what board members said is owed.

Hutton said Schwartz's letter included a promise to make up whatever difference still exists.

She said board members met at the school Monday to discuss the case and the upcoming senior breakfast, which is paid for by the foundation.

The foundation raises money through donations, merchant programs and pasta feeds to support Montgomery High's 1,800 students and faculty.

The program is separate from the school's booster club, which raises money for athletic programs.

Hutton said the money from the Schwartzes will be used to fill wish lists from teachers at the start of next school year.

Police said Jan Schwartz began taking money from the foundation shortly after it was founded in August 2004 and put the money into her own bank account. She spent the money on personal bills, police said.

Schwartz is suspected of taking $33,000 from the organization over a two-year period and paying about half that amount back when the alleged theft was discovered last week.

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