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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Former Business Manager at O.C. Private School Sentenced to 41 Months For Embezzling $2 Million

Former Business Manager at O.C. Private School Sentenced to 41 Months For Embezzling $2 Million

by Pasadena Independent
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A Trabuco Canyon man who admitted embezzling more than $2 million while managing a private elementary school was sentenced recently to three years and five months in federal prison, announced Stephanie Yonekura, the Acting United States Attorney for the Central District of California, and Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

The Honorable Dean D. Pregerson sentenced Ricardo Nieva, 50, to 41 months in federal prison. Judge Pregerson also ordered Nieva to pay restitution in the amount of. $2,093,667.84.

Nieva pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in connection with the embezzlement scheme in 2014.

According to court documents, Nieva was the business manager at The Pegasus School, in Huntington Beach from 1995 until September 2013. While Nieva held that position, he was authorized to sign checks drawn on the school’s bank accounts to conduct the school’s business. Nieva was not authorized to withdraw money for business unrelated to the school.

Beginning in late 2006, and continuing until around May 2013, Nieva knowingly defrauded the Pegasus School by signing checks payable to himself and cashing those checks drawn on the school’s bank accounts without authorization. Nieva cashed 256 checks that were deposited into his personal account via wire transfers from the school’s bank account. The total loss to the school was more than $2 million.

In order to avoid detection, Nieva altered bank statements and checks. He also prepared bogus summaries, ledgers and monthly financial reports, according to his plea agreement. He used these falsified documents to conceal his unauthorized withdrawals from the school’s Board of Trustees and finance committee, as well as a third party company that performed the school’s monthly bank reconciliations.

According to the plea agreement, defendant Nieva used the unauthorized proceeds from these checks to pay for personal expenses and luxury items, including vacations, private school tuition for his children, donations to private sports programs, a time share, a golf membership and season tickets to the Anaheim Angels.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

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