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PTO president accused of embezzlement

Gail Diane Panella-Monestere of Huntington Beach allegedly took more than $22,000 from elementary school fund.

May 23, 2012|By Mona Shadia

A Huntington Beach woman is scheduled to be arraigned June 29 for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from school fundraisers while serving as a parent-teacher organization president.

Gail Diane Panella-Monestere, 52, is accused of stealing more than $22,000 from Sun View Elementary School in Huntington Beach by writing checks to herself from the PTO bank account in amounts ranging from $250 to $800 and cashing them for personal use, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

She faces one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement. She faces a maximum sentence of three years in Orange County Jail if convicted.

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Panella-Monestere is accused of embezzling the money between September 2010 and February 2011.

School administrators discovered the missing money and contacted the Huntington Beach Police Department, which investigated the case, prosecutors said.

Her arraignment was originally scheduled May 18 at the West Justice Center in Westminster, but the date was moved after she posted $25,000 in bail, said district attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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