Strange transactions involving the funds of the Costa Mesa High School Band Booster Club led to a complaint to police, an investigation and Thursday arrest of the nonprofit's treasurer.
Jennifer Border-Piatti was held on suspicion of embezzlement after a search warrant was served on the 50-year-old's Costa Mesa home, where booster financial records were seized and examined.
Cecilia Zamora as Treasurer Gave High School Cheer Boosters an “E” for Embezzlement: Cops
Gail Diane Panella-Monestere, Former Parent Teacher Group President, Accused of $22k Theft
'Tis the Season to Bone Nonprofits, Fa La La La La, La La La La
Piatti was held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
The Costa Mesa Police Department's Economic Crimes investigators, who only got the case Tuesday, discovered questionable purchases and transactions after checking ATM withdrawals and credit card purchases made over the past couple years, according to police.
The loss is estimated to be more than $40,000. Piatti was held in lieu of $20,000 bail, but more charges could be coming as the department is reaching out to the public to help with the investigation. Contact police Sgt. Paul Beckman at 714.754.4746 if you can help.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District released a statement that reiterates booster club bylaws prevent district staff from having access to or oversight of the funds reads, adding:
This alleged lapse of judgment by one individual is a tragic and
disappointing situation for the school site and our families. We are extremely fortunate to have the support of parent
volunteers and community members. We know that our Costa Mesa
Middle and High School families and staff will continue to focus on the
needs of the students and that the investigation will not interfere with