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Couple sentenced for Orchard Park PTO theft

The former treasurer of a parent-teacher organization at Orchard Park Middle School and her husband were each sentenced Friday to five years’ probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service for stealing $29,532 from the organization’s bank account,

Elizabeth and Daniel J. Losardo, of Manor Lane, Hamburg, had faced up to four years in prison. Each pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny.

Elizabeth M. Losardo, 53, was the organization’s treasurer from July 2010 through last June. Because of her position, she had access to the bank account.

At the sentencing, Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case said the stolen money was spent on household bills because the couple’s other money was used to pay off Daniel Losardo’s gambling debts.

Neither Losardo spoke at the court hearing.

“While volunteering is admirable, it’s probably about as hypocritical as you can be to turn around and steal from the people you’re volunteering to help,” Case told Elizabeth Losardo. “While I’m trying to be somewhat understanding of what would appear to be a gambling addiction, it’s disconcerting, to say the least, to see this happen.

“I know they call it a parent-teacher organization, but really it’s about the kids,” the judge said. “To see someone placed in a position of trust to turn around and betray that trust is disturbing.”

The Losardos have made full restitution, said John C. Doscher, head of the Erie County District Attorney’s Special Investigations Bureau.

The thefts occurred between February 2011 and May 2012.

The two acted in concert to steal the money, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

A law enforcement official told The Buffalo News in October that investigators believe that Elizabeth Losardo had an ATM card and that her husband, 45, may have used the card to make cash withdrawals.

A presentence report prepared by the county’s Probation Department recommended probation.

Michael P. Caffery, the couple’s defense lawyer, said neither Losardo has a prior criminal record and asked the judge to follow the Probation Department’s recommendation.

But Case offered a stiff warning as he imposed community service.

“Whatever you do, don’t steal from the people you’re doing community service for, or you’ll be on your way to jail,” he said.