Friday, July 15, 2011

Former LEUSD Spokesman Admits Embezzlement in Colorado

A former Lake Elsinore Unified School District official on Thursday admitted embezzling nearly $5,000 from a district purchasing account and was immediately sentenced to 180 days local jail time.

Jose Carvajal, 30, was charged with one felony count of embezzlement of an amount more than $400 for stealing the money after his employment with the district ended in 2010.
At today's felony settlement conference hearing, Carvajal pleaded guilty and was sentenced, also receiving three years probation.
The jail time will be spent in the sheriff's weekender work-release program, according to court records.
Carvajal, who was out on $5,000 bail, got one day's credit for time served and only owes the sheriff 179 days, court records indicate.
The defendant took $4,909,54 from the Lake Elsinore Administrators and Professions (LEAP) bank account.
Carvajal was one of four people who had access to the account, used mainly to reimburse expenses accrued for the district out of pocket, according to papers filed with the court.
In January, Michael Taylor, the treasurer on the account, discovered 16 unauthorized transactions during a period from Dec. 23, 2010 to Jan. 21, according to a Declaration in Support of an Arrest Warrant filed in court.
Out of the 16 transactions, an investigator wrote in the affidavit, 15 of those were conducted in Lake Elslinore.
Also out of the 16 transactions, 15 of those were made for $300 and the last was made for $9.54, the investigator wrote.
The investigator further states in the affidavit that when records were compared, he determined that Carvajal used his ATM card to make the unauthorized transactions.
"In reviewing still images from the fraudulent ATM transactions, I found the person in all of the still images to be Jose ... Carvajal Jr.," wrote sheriff's Investigator Robert Cornett.
Carvajal served as a public information officer for the school district. Last fall he accepted a post with the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District as a public information officer, but was let go during his probationary period in April.
A reason for his dismissal has never been supplied by water district officials.
Carvajal turned himself over to authorities May 3, and was later released on $5,000 bail.
He pleaded not guilty to one count of embezzlement of more than $400 at his arraignment June 28 and the judge left bail in place.
“The district has cooperated with local authorities about the LEAP account and information related to the case; our intent to prosecute rests on the facts of the situation, however unfortunate they may be,” said Mark Dennis, spokesman for the school district.
Before his hearing to determine a date for a pre-trial hearing, Carvajal paid the court $300, according to court records. He now owes the state $975.57, according to records.

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