MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Charges that the treasurer of the Home and School Association at the former Lower Salford Elementary School took more than $38,000 from the organization will move forward to county court, Magisterial District Judge Albert Augustine, Harleysville, ruled after an Oct. 10 preliminary hearing.

At the same time, though, he said the case presented in the preliminary hearing met only the "bare minimum" to go to trial.

Heather Kuch, 43, of the 300 block of Indian Crest Way in Lower Salford, was sentenced last year to five to 23 months in jail followed by five years probation and to pay restitution of $29,700 to the Vernfield Elementary Home and School Association and $6,395.46 to Harleysville Cub Scouts Pack 137 after she pleaded guilty to having embezzled the money from the two organizations while she served as treasurer to the groups. Restitution has been paid to both groups, online court information shows.  

The new charges are from when Kuch was treasurer of the Lower Salford Home and School Association at the school before it closed in 2013, investigators said.

After the school closed, the LSHSA was disbanded and its assets turned over to the Vernfield group, where Kuch was treasurer until being removed in August of 2015, according to information in the affidavit of probable cause for the new charges.

While she was treasurer of the Lower Salford group, Kuch made several withdrawals from the LSHSA bank account and transferred the money to her own account, along with writing some unauthorized checks to herself, taking a total of $38,779.33, Montgomery County Det. Jean Morrison testified at the preliminary hearing. 

"The investigation dealt exclusively with the Lower Salford funds," she said in answer to questioning. 

Defense attorneys Norman Mittman and Joseph Rutala argued the current case was based on information investigators had at the time of the previous one and that case was already settled.

"They prosecuted Lower Salford even if they called it Vernfield," Rutala said.

"They're coming forth saying this is new stuff," he said, "when they knew about it."  

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Daniels said Kuch was prosecuted for and admitted to the thefts from the Vernfield and scout groups, not the ones now being charged.

Morrison said the investigation leading to the current charges was started after suspected additional thefts were reported last year. 

The charges include theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception. 

Rutala said, however, that there was no evidence presented of either theft or deception.

"The only thing that was testified to was moving money between bank accounts," he said.   

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