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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Rancho Cotate Project Graduation Treasurer Pleads to Embezzlement

Santa Rosa, CA  –  February 2, 2018  –  Defendant Mary Katherine David, 37 years old of Santa Rosa, pled no contest before the Honorable Patrick Broderick on January 26, 2018, to one count of felony grand theft and three counts of felony forgery.  She made an open plea to the court, pleading to all the counts charged on the complaint.  Judge Broderick will impose his sentence on March 26.  David paid full restitution prior to her plea.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was an abuse of trust by a parent against an important local non-profit organization.  Over the coming weeks we will carefully review the information that will be provided to us by the probation department to formulate what we believe is a just sentence for this defendant.”

From 2013-2017 David was on the board of Rancho Cotate’s Project Graduation, a safe and sober graduation party for high school graduates run by parent volunteers.  In 2014 David was elected treasurer, and began writing checks to herself in amounts varying between $200 and $1000.  She also forged the board president’s signature on the checks.  In order to conceal the dwindling money in the account, David falsely reported bank balances, and submitted false ledger sheets to the board.  By April 2017, checks to legitimate vendors started to bounce, and it was discovered that the bank account was in a negative balance.  During a subsequent investigation by the Rohnert Park Department of Public safety David admitted to embezzling approximately $50,000 in total from the account.

Upon learning of the theft, the surrounding community held various fund raisers in an effort to replace the stolen money, the largest of which was sponsored by the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department raising $25,000.  Enough funds were ultimately donated to hold a successful Project Graduation for the 2017 graduates.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Emily Malfatti, assisted by District Attorney Investigators Ken Pistorio and Mark AzzouniThe Rohnert Park Public Safety Department headed the investigation.

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County of Sonoma
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