The former Centinela Valley Union High School District superintendent faces a dozen felony embezzlement charges. Police arrested the man on August 30. He remained in custody for a week, while awaiting a ruling on a bail hearing.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli granted bail in the case. Then, the accused former superintendent posted a nearly $500,000 bond and was released. Prosecutors believe the loss to the district amounts to between $1.5 million and $3 million.
According to the complaint, the superintendent manipulated the board and district policies to vastly increase his compensation over five years. The embezzlement included the creation of supplemental retirement funds for himself and a limited number of executive administrators. In addition, prosecutors say he manipulated the rules of the retirement plan to dramatically increase his retirement benefits.
His 2013 compensation – the basis of his retirement benefits – exceeded $750,000. That figure is $500,000 more than the district’s next-highest-paid employees. The District Attorney’s Office investigated following the publication of a newspaper article about the superintendent’s “excessive” compensation package.
According to the school board, the members were unaware that the superintendent’s compensation had grown substantially. Allegedly, the superintendent concealed policy revisions among thousands of board by-laws. The board erroneously approved the hidden revisions.
The board voted to fire the superintendent in 2014, but did not publicly disclose the reason for his termination.
Hawthorne embezzlement lawyer
The theft of public funds is a serious offense. When you’re facing these charges, you need the experience of an aggressive embezzlement lawyer on your side. Robert Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. He will fight aggressively for your rights and freedom in court.
Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, or one who would rather take a plea than fight for you. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County embezzlement case.
Photo Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis, via Flickr.com