Detroit — The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged a high school principal and a nonprofit chief operating officer with embezzling money that was targeted toward at-risk students at Detroit schools.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Western High School principal Rudolfo Diaz and Esperanza Detroit COO Cecilia Zavala with stealing money from Esperanza Detroit.
The agency provides services and in-house counselors to at-risk students at Western International High School and other Detroit public schools.
According to Worthy, in April 2014, the DPS' Office of Inspector General noticed irregularities with some checks issued by the organization.
A member of Esperanza Detroit took an internal audit and turned findings over to the Detroit Police Department, which then turned it over to the prosecutor's office.
It is alleged that from November 2011 until May 2014, Zavala, 35, of Wyandotte, embezzled more than $100,000 from Esperanza Detroit for her own personal use, including using the organization's credit and debit cards without authorization to pay for restaurants, jewelry, a car and stays at hotels.
From October 2013 through May 2014, it is alleged that Diaz, 35, of Lincoln Park, received checks totaling $10,400 written on the Esperanza account and used it for his personal use. It is also alleged that he aided and abetted Zavala in embezzling money from the nonprofit.
Zavala has been charged with embezzlement more than $100,000, embezzlement more than $1,000 (nonprofit) and embezzlement more than $1,000.
She has also been charged with conspiracy embezzlement, using a computer to commit embezzlement more than $100,000.
Diaz has been charged with embezzlement more than $1,000, conspiracy embezzlement, embezzlement more than $1,000 (nonprofit) and conspiracy to embezzle.
"The allegations in this case reveal a complete disservice to and disregard for the students and the community as a whole," Worthy said in a statement.
Zavala and Diaz are expected to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in 36th District Court.Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©