Cops: Mt. Lebanon man stole $12K from Harrison nursery school
A former Natrona Heights man turned himself in to authorities Thursday on allegations that he stole close to $12,000 from a nursery school in Harrison.
Harrison police charged Brian Walter Rigatti, 50, of Mt. Lebanon with 14 counts of theft, according to online court documents.
Rigatti was arraigned before District Judge Carolyn Bengel in Brackenridge on Thursday and released on a non-monetary bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 3.
In an affidavit, Harrison police Det. Joseph Signorella said Rigatti took $11,650 from the Natrona Heights Presbyterian Church Weekday Nursery School from May 2017 to May 2018.
Signorella said he spoke with nursery school board members in August, who told him that parents of past and current students believed their bank accounts had been compromised by someone affiliated with the school.
During the meeting, board members also discovered three fraudulent charges had been made to the school’s bank account, and multiple checks allegedly had been made out to Rigatti without their knowledge.
Rigatti is a certified public accountant with the firm Bould & Associates, according to the affidavit.
He declined to comment on the charges when a reporter called his office Thursday afternoon.
Signorella said for each of the fraudulent charges, an unauthorized check was cashed. While the names on the checks were fraudulent, the bank accounts and routing numbers were real, and belonged to the school and to the students’ parents.
The board members told Signorella that Rigatti served as treasurer of the school since 2015 and was to be paid $750 a year. They said he had agreed to resign prior to the current school year and was to be paid $2,250 for his services.
According to Rigatti’s arrest papers, the checks written out of the school’s bank account show that Rigatti had written a total of $7,500 in excess to pay himself for the years 2017 and 2018.
Signorella said he spoke with Rigatti on Sept. 16. He said Rigatti told him that “he had fallen on some hard personal times, and that is why he wrote the checks to himself.”
Signorella also asked Rigatti about money that was supposed to be invested for the school through Bould & Associates, and Rigatti allegedly admitted that he didn’t use the allotted money for investments. Rather, the money was used to cover a client’s nonpayment to Bould & Associates, the affidavit said. That money totaled $3,750.
Rigatti is a 1986 graduate of Highlands High School who once lived in the Natrona Heights section of Harrison, according to his Facebook page and other published reports.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.