|For Immediate Release
Case # 12WF1209
May 17, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION PRESIDENT TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $22,000 FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FUNDRAISERS
WESTMINSTER– The President of a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for embezzling over $22,000 from school fundraisers. Gail Diane Panella-Monestere, 52, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement. If convicted, Panella-Monestere faces a maximum sentence of three years in Orange County Jail. Panella-Monestere is being held on $25,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow, May 18, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department W-14, West Justice Center, Westminster.
Between September 2010 and February 2011, the defendant is accused of serving as PTO president for Sun View Elementary School in Huntington Beach and was responsible for tracking and maintaining fundraiser money.
The defendant is accused of abusing her position of trust by embezzling approximately $22,000 by writing unauthorized checks to herself from the PTO bank account in amounts ranging from $250 to $800 and cashing them for her own personal use. The defendant is accused of keeping cash raised from fundraising events intended to be deposited into the PTO bank account.
School administrators discovered fundraiser money was missing and reported the theft to the Huntington Beach Police Department, who investigated the case.