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PTA leader stole $5K in funding: DA

By Alex Davidson

Brenda Battaglia, of 107-16 93rd St. in Ozone Park, is alleged to have taken $5,638 from the group's coffers so she could get a variety of personal beauty treatments at places such as tanning salons and spas, District Attorney Richard Brown said March 3. She has been charged with grand larceny and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

“According to the charges, the defendant used a PTA debit card as a ticket to the good life by diverting association funds for her own benefit,” Brown said. “Her conduct was a betrayal of the trust of the parents who elected her to serve as their leader.”

PS 63, also known as The Old South School, is an elementary school at 90-15 Sutter Ave.

Councilman Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said he had spoken to some of the school's employees who had only brief contact with Battaglia. He said the former PTA president, whom he had never met, had recently left her post and he had very little information about her.

Battaglia was president of PS 63's Parent Teacher Association from Sept. 6, 2002 to May 30, 2003 and during that time she allegedly pilfered the group's Bank of New York account using the organization's debit card, Brown said. She is charged with then using the $5,638 to visit stores in southwest Queens such as Beach Bum Tanning, Angela's Nail and Hair Spa and Tudor Nail, the DA said.

Brown said that as PTA president, Battaglia had sole possession of the group's debit card and did not have the authority or permission to make the transactions in question. The DA further alleged that Battaglia then used that card during her regular visits to the Ozone Park branch of the bank at 95-25 101st St. in Ozone Park to withdraw the funds.

Battaglia was arraigned March 2 in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens before Judge Gene Lopez, who released the defendant on her own recognizance, the DA said. The judge said Battaglia was expected to return to court on March 17, Brown said.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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