PTO, other thefts net woman 4 years

Posted: January 25, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A Stephens City woman who embezzled more than $100,000 from two Frederick County parent-teacher organizations and a homeowners association will serve four years in prison.

Shawn Marie Bianco, 45, of the 100 block of Georgetowne Court, appeared Thursday morning with attorney William A. “Beau” Bassler in Frederick County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to 15 counts of felony embezzlement.

She was indicted on 26 counts of embezzlement, which occurred from 2003 to 2011, but 11 counts were not prosecuted as part of a plea agreement with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

She was sentenced to four years in prison on two of the charges she pleaded guilty to, with no time suspended.

For the other 13 charges, she was sentenced to two years for each, with all of that time suspended.

She embezzled a total of $119,312.40 while serving on the boards of the Bass-Hoover Elementary School PTO, the Robert E. Aylor Middle School PTO and the Georgetowne Court Homeowners Association.

She was ordered to pay the full amount in restitution and serve 10 years supervised probation following her release from prison.

According to the restitution statement, Bianco embezzeled $32,315.29 from the Bass Hoover PTO, $19,376.97 from Robert E. Aylor PTO and $67,620.14 from the Georgetowne Court Homeowners Association.

Bianco will not report to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center until 8 a.m. March 7.

Andrew M. Robbins, assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said at the hearing that for years, Bianco served on the boards of the three organizations, and that through her capacity, she embezzled money for personal use.

“She had sort of set up a house of cards,” he said.

It wasn’t until someone on the Bass Hoover PTO asked about an $18,000 certificate of deposit that Bianco admitted to another member that she liquidated it.

Robbins said that Bianco got into a hole and said she used the money for things like her kids’ braces and automobile payments.

Visiting Judge Benjamin Kendrick replied later, looking directly at Bianco, “pretty expensive braces.”

She did not respond.

Robbins said that Bianco was cooperative with law enforcement and “freely admitted” to taking the money.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com