SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) A former elementary school manager who admitted to embezzling more than $2 million from his school in Huntington Beach was sentenced Friday to nearly three-and-one-half years in federal prison, according to the FBI.
Ricardo Nieva, 50, of Trabuco Canyon was sentenced by Judge Dean D. Pregerson.READ MORE: New $500M Skyscraper Proposed For Sunset Blvd. In Hollywood
The judge also ordered Nieva to pay restitution to the school 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 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 school business, according to the FBI. Nieva was not authorized to withdraw money for business unrelated to the school.READ MORE: Buy Them Now: Shoppers Urged To Get A Jump On The Holidays Due To Global Shipping Problems
Beginning in late 2006, and continuing until around May 2013, Nieva knowingly defrauded the school by signing checks payable to himself and cashing those checks drawn on the school’s bank accounts. Nieva cashed 256 checks that were deposited into his personal account via wire transfers from the school’s bank account.
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 school officials as well as a third party firm that oversaw the school’s monthly audits.
Nieva admitted to using the bogus funds for many luxuries including vacations, private school tuition for his children, donations to private sports programs, a time share, a golf membership and season tickets for Anaheim Angels games.MORE NEWS: LA County Sheriff's Employee Killed, Woman Hurt After Vintage Sports Car Careens Into Pole In Temple City
This investigation was conducted by the FBI. The United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.