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$40,000 allegedly embezzled from O.C. marching band

Costa Mesa High School's marching band and its supporters are reeling from allegations that more than $40,000 was embezzled from the Band Boosters Club.

Mesa's marching band and color guard were stunned to learn that club treasurer Jennifer Border-Piatti, 50, was arrested Oct. 25 on suspicion of embezzling from the club, said band member Jennifer Bernal, 17, who is also a color guard co-captain.

"Right now, I guess we're all a little shocked," she said. "We all saw her as a really supportive figure."

Principal Phil D'Agostino said the school is still trying to get its arms around the situation, but there is no danger of the marching band ceasing to exist.

"Things are going as well as can be expected," he said. "We're putting some plans together; we're looking at resources we have ... and we're going to get the band back on its feet."

The Band Boosters Club asked Piatti and her husband, Robert Piatti, to step down as treasurer and president, respectively, said Boosters Club member Michael Collier, a former school board member. Robert Piatti is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The Boosters Club is holding a parents' meeting Monday to elect new officers, Collier said.

— Britney Barnes, Times Community News

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