Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ex-Carlsbad schools employee accused of embezzlement

A former Carlsbad school district worker in charge of renting out the district’s primary performing arts center has been charged with embezzling nearly $150,000.
Authorities say that Daniel James Czypinski directed unsuspecting clients who rented the facility to make their payment checks out to a company that Czypinski created, rather than the Carlsbad Unified School District.
In 2012 and 2013, one coastal North County church paid Czypinski’s company nearly $39,000 to rent the school theater known as the Cultural Arts Center, according to a sworn declaration by Dzung Luc, the Carlsbad police detective who investigated the case.
San Diego County prosecutors charged Czypinski earlier this week with 22 counts of grand theft and allegations including aggravated white-collar crime. If convicted, Czypinski faces a maximum sentence of 19 years.
Czypinski worked for the district for a nearly two years before resigning in January 2014, according to the detective’s declaration filed in Vista Superior Court. The alleged thefts were uncovered shortly after Czypinski left the district.
The 36-year old, who moved to San Dimas about two years ago, was arrested Tuesday at Cal Poly Pomona, where he now works. He posted $300,000 bail and was released from jail later that day. Czypinski is expected to be arraigned in Vista later this month.
At Carlsbad High, Czypinski was the technical director for the Cultural Arts Center.
At Cal Poly, he is the director of sets and scenery for the Department of Theatre and New Dance. A school spokeswoman said he doesn’t deal directly with money in that role.
Czypinski could not be reached for comment Friday. Carlsbad district officials declined to comment.
The alleged embezzlement was uncovered in January 2014, when an Oceanside dance group called the district to confirm its booking arrangements. The group’s director told district officials that she had made her deposit payable to Encore Arts Marketing. School officials checked records and found no such booking or deposits paid by the dance group.
A search of Czypinski’s bank records in late 2014 revealed that more that a dozen other organizations had also paid Encore Arts to rent the school theater — with combined payments reaching more than $90,000, according to Luc’s declaration.
After Czypinski left the district, Carlbad High School’s newspaper praised his technical expertise in helping the school performances run smoothly. The news story noted that he had left to find a better job and get paid for the extra efforts and hours he put in.

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