The former president of the parent-teacher organization at San Jose’s Trace Elementary School faces up to one year in jail after pleading no contest to embezzling more than $20,000 from the organization, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. Vanessa Eleana Reyes, 40, of San Gabriel, pleaded no contest last week to felony grand theft and has paid restitution for the money that she stole, with interest, as part of a plea agreement, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that during her tenure as president of the organization from 2008 to 2009, Reyes used a debit card issued by the PTO to withdraw cash and to buy gifts, clothing, athletic apparel and vacation trips for herself. The investigation into the embezzlement allegations began in October 2010 after a new PTO member noticed a suspicious iTunes transaction and other unauthorized transactions by Reyes and the organization’s treasurer, Anne Zingale, while reviewing the organization’s financial documents, according to the district attorney’s office. Zingale, a 48-year-old San Jose resident, is a co-defendant in the case and has a court appearance scheduled next month. Reyes is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1.
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