Paul T. Nogaki [Ptnippon on Judoforum], 55, of Murrieta, the former treasurer of the Vista Murrieta band booster club, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling from the parent-run nonprofit group.
Sgt. Phil Gomez declined to give an estimate of the amount of money believed to have been stolen. He said investigators are still trying to determine how much money is missing.
Karen Parris, spokeswoman for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, said she could not release any estimate of the financial loss, but said “it’s a significant amount.”
Nogaki’s two-year term as treasurer ended in June, police said.
“The next guy came in. He started looking at the numbers and saw there were a lot of discrepancies,” Gomez said.
Booster club officials notified police of the suspected theft this week, Gomez said.
Nogaki was booked into the Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of grand theft and embezzlement. He was released Thursday on $135,000 bond, jail records show.
No one answered the door Friday at Nogaki’s home and a voicemail left at the nonprofit judo center Nogaki operates in Murrieta was not returned.
The nonprofit band booster club raises money to assist the Golden Alliance band with expenses, such as travel and food, not covered by the school district budget, police said. The booster club is independent of the district.
More than 350 students participate in the school’s band programs, which include the 250-member marching band, jazz bands and concert bands, Parris said. The booster club’s annual budget for the program is about $225,000, she said.
Vista Murrieta Principal Darren Daniel met with hundreds of band parents Thursday night to discuss the situation and address concerns. Parents and school officials agreed they do not want the incident to affect the students or their program, Parris said.
“They will still be able to provide the necessary support” the students need to perform and compete this year, she said.
However, the boosters may need to make some adjustments to this year’s budget and they may need to delay purchase of new marching band uniforms, which the group had been saving up for, she said.
The boosters had oversight procedures in place and conducted annual audits of their funds, Parris said.
Parris said she did not believe Nogaki had children currently attending schools in the Murrieta Valley district.