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Former Lynwood Schools Official Charged With Embezzling, Misappropriating Public Funds

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The former chief business officer of the Lynwood Unified School District faces 21 felony counts of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

William Douglas Agopian, 60, of Santa Ana pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered to remain in jail on $700,000 bail.

Agopian was arrested last Wednesday by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office.

He is charged with six counts of misappropriation of public funds and five counts each of embezzlement by a public or private officer, filing a false tax return and filing a false income tax return.

Prosecutors say the crimes were not uncovered until August 2010, when the district’s new director of fiscal services needed to review the district’s bank accounts to address financial problems the district was experiencing.

A previous school district superintendent, Dhyan Lal, had allowed Agopian to open an account in April 2006 to facilitate a district-sponsored exchange trip to Lynwood’s sister city in Mexico, according to the criminal complaint.

“Unbeknownst to Lal, the account was used by defendant Agopian, who was the district’s chief business officer, to collect money of the school district and spend the money on personal items,” the criminal complaint alleges.

More than $700,000 was diverted into the bank account, and some of the money was allegedly used for Agopian’s personal expenses, including tickets to sporting events, gasoline and hotel expenses and personal taxes, according to Deputy District Attorney Dana Aratani.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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