Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ex-Oscar Smith band treasurer gets 90 days for theft in Virginia

After wowing the judges for the second time in five months, the Oscar Smith High School band was honored in March as one of the best in the state.
But when it came time to celebrate, the band's booster club was unable to buy a cake. Kimberly Compitello - the club's now-former treasurer - had raided the accounts for her personal gain.
"We were broke. We couldn't pay for anything," said Bobbie Yoakem, one of two women now watching the group's books. She said the club's board considered dissolving.
Compitello, 42, was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail.
According to court documents, she took more than $13,800 from the organization from July 2011 to December 2012. The theft equaled about one third of the club's annual budget.
Compitello wrote numerous unauthorized checks to herself, court documents said. The mother of two covered her tracks by telling the club's board she'd had an auditor review the books when she had not.
The school's marching and concert bands are privately funded, with money coming from annual membership fees and donations.
"It's not taxpayer money," said Jack Elgin, an Oscar Smith High teacher and the band's director. "It's money these people worked hard to earn."
Club officials said the organization is in debt and having trouble buying basic supplies such as music, drum heads and mallets. When the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association recognized the band earlier this year, the booster club barely could scrape together enough money to buy medals. Elgin bought the "Virginia Honor Band" banner that hangs in the school.
"It is amazing what they have done with so little funding," said January Davidson, booster club president.
State sentencing guidelines recommended a suspended sentence. Circuit Judge Frederick H. Creekmore Sr. ordered Compitello to report Friday to the Chesapeake Correctional Center. He also ordered her to pay restitution at the rate of $400 per month.
"I am truly sorry for what I have done, not just that I was caught," said Compitello, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to three counts of embezzlement.
Outside the courtroom, Yoakem said the club is determined to recover from its financial mess. Since learning of the embezzlement, members have organized car washes, citrus sales and restaurant fundraisers.
"She broke us financially, but she didn't break our spirit," Yoakem said. "There is light at the end of the tunnel - it is just a very long tunnel," she said.
Donations may be sent to Oscar Smith High School, Attention: Band Booster Club, 1994 Tiger Drive, Chesapeake, VA 23320.

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