School embezzlement trial begins

The trial of a Hickory woman accused of stealing money from an elementary school organization began Monday in court.

Holly Lafone Specht, 31, is accused of stealing money from Webb A. Murray Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) when she served as the group’s treasurer during the 2008-09 school year.

Specht is charged with one count of obtaining property by false pretenses, one count of embezzlement by public officers and trustees, and four counts of forging endorsement.

Superior Court Judge Gary E. Trawick denied a motion by Specht's attorney, Mark Killian, that revolved around the wording of the embezzlement indictment.

Killian argued that the indictment does not contain an entity that is capable of owning property.

The state argued that PTO does represent the Webb A. Murray Parent Teacher Organization, a group that is a legal entity, owns property and is a charitable organization.

Trawick said Killian could bring the matter up again after all evidence is presented.

Specht allegedly stole thousands of dollars from the school's PTO while serving as treasurer. She also reportedly purchased personal items from Sam's Club while using the PTO's money and forged the PTO's signature on checks made out to cash.

Specht turned herself into authorities shortly after being indicted on the charges in April 2010.