A Tracy woman accused of embezzling more than $40,000 from the George Kelly School Parent Teacher Organization made her first appearance in court on Monday.
Barbara Jean Tabaldi, 52, appeared before Judge Robert Baysinger for arraignment on one felony count of embezzlement in the Manteca branch of San Joaquin County Superior Court. Sacramento attorney Megan Shapiro spoke on Tabaldi’s behalf.
Prosecutor Stephen Taylor was unable to attend the hearing, and a deputy district attorney who filled in for him requested a continuance. The judge scheduled a further arraignment hearing at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Manteca court.
According to court documents, Tabaldi is accused of taking $48,979 from the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school’s PTO fund and mismanaging a second PTO account belonging to the teachers while she was the PTO treasurer from July 19, 2010, to July 1, 2014.
Documents show that other PTO officers noticed a possible problem in July 2014 when the new board identified numerous ATM cash withdrawals from the two accounts during the period Tabaldi served as treasurer.
Stacie Petrovich, the PTO president during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, asked for an accounting review to look for possible misappropriation of funds, which was performed in September 2014 by the firm of Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Co.
Petrovich and Laura Olson, a Kelly School teacher who was the co-treasurer for the teachers PTO account, gained access to the PTO accounts at Wells Fargo in July 2014. They reportedly found records of numerous ATM and branch withdrawals from both accounts, as well as frequent online transfers between the accounts.
A further review revealed that the teachers PTO debit card had been used in October 2013 to purchase Disney Resort vacations without the knowledge or permission of Olson or the PTO board.
Olson stated during the investigation that she was in charge of the teachers PTO account as the co-treasurer. She said that Kelly School’s roughly 44 teachers would start out each year with about $88 each to use for their classrooms from the fund.
On May 29, 2014, Olson discovered that numerous Kelly teachers had not received that money from Tabaldi. Some had been given checks written from the teachers PTO account that bounced due to insufficient finds. Olsen stated that when she checked on June 30, 2014, the account was overdrawn by $599.61.
During the accounting review of both accounts, it was alleged that Tabaldi had made dozens of ATM and branch withdrawals adding up to tens of thousands of dollars from the PTO club and teachers PTO accounts using debit cards issued in her name. Olson said she hadn’t known that the debit cards existed.
Two ATM withdrawals and three branch withdrawals occurred during Tabaldi’s first three weeks as treasurer, between July 19 and Aug. 9, 2010, before school started on Aug. 11.
Court documents show that she “was floating funds” from the teachers PTO account to the PTO club account and back again “in order to withdraw cash funds for her personal use and/or gain.” Investigators believe the transfers, about which the PTO club board knew nothing, were an attempt by Tabaldi to conceal the money missing from the accounts.
Tabaldi remains out of custody on $50,000 bail.