A Costa Mesa mom who embezzled more than $50,000 from a high school band booster club pleaded guilty to the charges against her, was sentenced to a year in jail and three years probation and ordered to pay nearly $52,000 in restitution. Jennifer Borders-Piatti, 51, pleaded guilty to felony grand theft in an Orange County Superior Court plea deal that spared her three years in prison. Her restitution includes interest on what she admitted stealing from the Costa Mesa High School Band and Color Guard boosters, who raise money for uniforms, instruments and other expenses.
Her crime had nearly plunged the Costa Mesa High School band program into oblivion.
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Borders-Piatti, who was the treasurer for the band's booster club, will have to work on a repayment plan through the Orange County Probation Department. She was arrested last October after a search of her home linked her to the thefts, which involved unauthorized ATM withdrawals from the booster's account that she spent on personal expenses, including items from Victoria's Secret.
Borders-Piatti reportedly apologized in court last week, but many of the 20 school and booster club representatives at the hearing seemed in no mood to accept it, accusing her of knowing exactly what she was doing to the program. Read their angry quotes in the Daily Pilot.