The treasurer of the parent-teacher organization at Orchard Park Middle School and her husband have been charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the PTO, but the stolen money has been repaid, authorities and PTO records confirmed Monday.
Elizabeth M. Losardo, 52, of Manor Lane, Hamburg, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and falsifying business records, Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew D. Benz said.
Her husband, Daniel J. Losardo Jr., 45, was charged with third-degree grand larceny.
Both Losardos, charged after arrest warrants were issued Aug. 22, were arraigned the next day, when they were released on their own recognizance, police said. Orchard Park’s Central District PTO first met with town police Detective John K. Payne on Aug. 6.
Law enforcement sources said Monday they believe that the amount of stolen money was between $20,000 and $30,000, although the investigation continues, and the figure could be higher.
Investigators believe that Elizabeth Losardo, as PTO treasurer, had an ATM card and that her husband may have used the card to make cash withdrawals, possibly to feed a gambling problem.
“It appears she was altering the business records so that they didn’t accurately reflect what was in the account,” said one law enforcement source familiar with the probe.
The Losardos are scheduled to appear before Orchard Park Town Justice Edward A. Pace on Nov. 20, but the felony case is expected to be moved to downtown Buffalo.
“Right now, the evidence is likely to be presented to the grand jury, unless the parties come to some other resolution,” Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Monday.
The money has been paid back, according to the minutes from the Oct. 9 meeting of the Middle School PTO.
“The current PTO financial issues of missing monies from last year were discussed. All monies have been returned, and appropriate legal steps have been taken by the PTO,” the published minutes say, based on the report of Principal David P. Lilleck.
The PTO at Orchard Park Central is governed by an umbrella central council, and each school has its own officers, including presidents and treasurers. While PTOs are affiliated with specific schools and often work together with the school district, they are separate organizations with separate budgets.
“It wasn’t district or taxpayer money,” School Superintendent Matthew P. McGarrity said.
While district officials have been kept informed of the situation, they have not been involved with the investigation, McGarrity said, and the PTO worked with law enforcement.
“The PTO,” he said, “wanted to make sure we were aware of what is going on.”