Police: Booster club treasurer suspected of embezzlement

Police arrested a Costa Mesa woman suspected of embezzling money from a high school band booster club, 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 more than $40,000 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.

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

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

She was being held on suspicion of grand theft.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District released a statement saying that the club is under investigation by the police, and a parent was arrested. The school district noted the booster club is run by parents, and 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, according to the district.

The district said it hopes for a speedy resolution to the case.

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


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