The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) president at Sun View Elementary School in Huntington
Beach is scheduled to be
arraigned Friday on charges of embezzling more than $22,000 from school fundraisers.
Gail Diane Panella-Monestere, 52, of Huntington Beach, faces one
felony count of grand theft by embezzlement and the possibility of three years in Orange
County Jail with a conviction.
According to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's
office (OCDA), Panella-Monestere was responsible for tracking and
maintaining fundraiser money as president from September 2010 to February
But she allegedly wrote $250 to $800 checks to herself from PTO
bank accounts, then cashed them for personal use. She is further accused of keeping cash
raised from events that were supposed to be deposited into the PTO
bank account, according to the OCDA, which pegs the total illegal take at around $22,000.
School administrators who discovered the thefts contacted the Huntington
Beach Police Department, which launched an investigation that led to
Panella-Monestere's arrest and Friday's court date in Westminster.