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Marching band booster club treasurer stole $40,000, police say

October 26, 2012 | 10:43 am

A Costa Mesa woman suspected of embezzling more than $40,000 from a high school band booster club is being held on suspicion of grand theft, police said.

Jennifer Border-Piatti, 50, was arrested Thursday after police served a search warrant at her home and found evidence linking her to the theft of funds from the Costa Mesa High School Band Boosters Club, according to the Costa Mesa Police Department.

Police believe Border-Piatti stole from the club for years.

Border-Piatti, who was the booster club's treasurer, made credit card purchases and ATM withdrawals from the account that were not related to booster club business, police said.

On Tuesday, police received information about questionable transactions from the account, and linked Border-Piatti to the crime, they said.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District released a statement saying that the club is under investigation by the police, and that a parent was arrested. The school district noted the booster club is run by parents, not by district staffers.

"The bylaws of the boosters program specifically identify that no staff member has direct access to any funds," the statement read. "The district has strict oversight and accountability policies and procedures in place regarding organizations whose funds are handled directly by the district."

A new process to help safeguard the fundraising activities of school-connected organizations is also being implemented, district officials said.

"This alleged lapse of judgment by one individual is a tragic and disappointing situation for the school site and our families," the district said.

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--Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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