[Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 13 at 11:30 a.m.]
A West Orange woman has been charged with allegedly siphoning money from the Mt. Pleasant Parent-Teacher Association in West Orange, authorities said.
Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, clarified with Patch Friday that Deborah Sanchez allegedly stole $101,000 but that the investigation was ongoing.
Patch first reported that Sanchez was being charged with stealing more than $7,500, as stated by the prosecutor's office.
Sanchez, former Mt. Pleasant PTA president, made her first appearance in Superior Court last week and pleaded not guilty, according to Carter.
Sources familiar with the incident said the allegations are partly related to an after-school program Sanchez ran at Mt. Pleasant, where she apparently siphoned funds from the program.
Sanchez's attorney, Robert Stevens, said he was reviewing the allegations and working to explain the situation on her behalf.
"Innocent people do not like to be accused of doing something wrong," he told Patch. "There's another side of the story."
Mt. Pleasant Principal Michael Schiavo would not comment on the situation and deferred questions to the superintendent.
"During the time that we supervised the running of the (after-school) program, the books were in order, that's my understanding," Dr. Anthony Cavanna, Superintendent of Schools told Patch.
He said this was the first time such an incident happened in the district but would not comment further.
The after school program at Mt. Pleasant is currently run by the West Orange Community House and no longer handled by the PTA.
Marcia Dukes, current PTA president at Mt. Pleasant, said she took over as president after Sanchez, "It is unfortunate that this took place at Mt. Pleasant with the previous PTA. I'm hopeful that it can be resolved for the sake of the children and quickly."
She said Sanchez does not currently have children enrolled at Mt. Pleasant.
The allegations came to light last year after an audit was conducted by the PTA and brought to the attention of the police department, West Orange Capt. John Buoye said. He said the investigation was turned over to the prosecutor's office.
A message left at a West Orange telephone number for a Deborah Sanchez was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Sanchez's next court date is scheduled on Feb. 6. She will appear before Superior Court Judge Verna Leath.