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Elementary School PTO President Facing Grand Theft Charges

Release by Winter Haven Police Department

A former PTO President and volunteer at Elbert Elementary School facing grand theft charges after unauthorized purchases using a PTO credit card.

Thirty-nine year-old Aaron Pickle (Roberta Dr., Winter Haven) was acting as the President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for Elbert Elementary when unusual transactions were discovered on the bank account that started occurring in August 2019. The card used was issued to Pickle with clear indicators of it being a school card for the PTO. The transactions included ATM withdrawals, Walmart purchases, food and even utility account payments, to include the City of Winter Haven Utilities.

When questioned by school staff, Pickle initially indicated that his credit card had been stolen and attempted to file a fraudulent charge dispute at the bank. Pickle claimed that more than $3,100 was taken without his permission using his PTO credit card.

The school looked closer at all of the purchases and when seeing a City of Winter Haven Utilities charge, they contacted the Winter Haven Police Department to make a formal complaint. When the transaction of the utilities was investigated, it was determined the location for the utility service was the address for Pickle.

On 8-19-2020, detectives made contact with Pickle and took him into custody without incident regarding the fraudulent charges. He was booked into the Polk County Jail on two counts of Grand Theft (F.S.S. 812.014(2)(C) F-3; one count of Fraudulent Use of Credit Card >3 Times (F.S.S. 817.61) F-3; and seven counts of Petit Theft (F.S.S. 812.014(3)(A) M-2.

The fraudulent charges listed in the affidavit are as follows:

1.) ATM Withdrawal, CENTERSTATE B 1101 FIRST ST WINTER HAVEN, FL $400.00 ($200 was used for school items, remaining was for groceries and utilities).

2.) POS Purchase, WAL Wal-Mart Super 2408 WINTER HAVEN FL  $1,702.10 (Aaron used for rent payment).

3.) POS Purchase, WM SUPERCENTER # WINTER HAVEN FL  $1,400.00 (Aaron used for rent payment).

4.) ACH ATM, POSS PUR in the amount of $188.97 to the City of Winter Haven Utilities on (Used for water utilities).

5.) Giovanni’s Pizza, for $224.00, (Aaron gave the card to Jewett Academy staff for pizza purchase).

6.) Family Dollar, for $50.10, (Aaron purchased toiletries and household items).

7.) Plaza Mexico Wahneta, for $20.00, (Aaron made purchase for personal).

8.) Big Daddy’s, for $22.97, (Aaron made food purchase).

9.) FPUC Easy Pay, for $65.90,  (Florida Power & Utilities, Aaron paid utility bill for gas services)

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Staff Reporter

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