A Baltimore Parent Stole $29,000 From School Fundraiser to Spend on DraftKings and FanDuel

A treasurer for the middle school's parent association pocketed the money from a chocolate fundraiser.

DraftKings logo displayed on a smartphone screen
Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
DraftKings logo displayed on a smartphone screen

One Baltimore man is probably not getting a father’s day gift this year after stealing $29,000 from a school fundraiser and spending the money on gambling sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

According to The Baltimore Banner, James Michael Harris, 46, serves as a treasurer for Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex, Maryland. Harris is accused of stealing money raised by the school's students through a chocolate bar sale.

Baltimore County prosecutors said the theft occurred between April 2022 and March 2023. Harris allegedly emptied the school's non-profit bank account, using PayPal to send the money to himself, which he then used to gamble on sports.

“Those kids worked so hard to raise that money and they got nothing for it in return,” President for the PTSA, Rosemary Roos-Whitney said. “It’s really disappointing.”

Harris faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, though he’s paid back $8,000 so far to the school. While the state is seeking prison time, they have agreed to a plea deal that delays sentencing for six months while Harris pays restitution.

Meanwhile, the school has been unable to pay back the $6,815 it owed to World’s Finest Chocolate. However, nearly half of the balance was forgiven, leaving a $3,407.50 debt in collection.

“We will always support our school partners and look forward to continuing to help schools fundraise,” World’s Finest Chocolate spokesperson Jennifer Taylor said.

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