SANTA ROSA, Calif. — A former Santa Rosa charter school official has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $400,000 to fund a prescription drug habit.
The Press Democrat reports that Sheila Accornero entered her plea Monday to felony counts of grand theft, forgery and possession of a controlled substance. Under terms of the plea deal, she'll get no more than five years and eight months in prison when she's sentenced on Feb. 28.Accornero was the business manager of Kid Street Learning Center, where prosecutors said she forged the principal's signature on hundreds of checks written out to her. She was arrested in August after her credit union noticed suspicious deposits in her account.Authorities say the stolen money was used to buy hydrocodone and OxyContin.
“$400,000 embezzlement suspected at Kid Street Charter School; Finance director arrested on embezzlement, burglary, forgery and drug violations.” The Press Democrat, 8/10/2011
The finance manager of a Santa Rosa charter school will face charges Thursday of embezzling nearly $400,000 to support a prescription narcotics habit, Santa Rosa police officials said Wednesday.Sheila Accornero is suspected of writing checks to herself and hiding money through accounting techniques during the five years she managed the books for the Kid Street Learning Center Charter School on Davis Street, Sgt. Michael Lazzarini said...Accornero, 42, the school’s finance and business manager, was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the school and is being held without bail on suspicion of embezzlement, forgery and burglary.She had prescription narcotics, including Vicodin and hydrocodone, in her possession, a violation of her probation for a prior drug related-conviction in 2009, police officials said...Lazzarini said school officials were unaware of the fraud when investigators Tuesday asked them to look over the books for evidence of embezzlement.“Annual reports never showed any discrepencies, but that’s consistent with embezzlement cases,” Lazzarini said. “She’d write checks to herself and forge the administrator signatures.”Investigators received a tip several weeks ago suggesting they look into the 42-year-old Cloverdale woman’s “financial lifestyle,” Lazzarini said...Investigators uncovered $400,000 in funds channeled to Accornero dating as far back as three years ago. They suspect they may find more misappropriated funds with a more detailed examination of the accounting books...The suspected loss would represent a significant portion of the annual revenue received by the charter school’s parent organization, Kid Street Learning Center Inc...None of the money taken from the school has been recovered, Lazzarini said...