California charter school operators indicted for stealing public funds

A June 10, 2010, press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced the indictment of two charter school operators in the San Fernando Valley for with Embezzling Public Funds. As long as law enforcement officials in Chicago refuse to investigate Chicago's charter school operators, despite numerous complaints, such news out of Chicago is unlikely.

The press release follows:

Charter School Operators Charged with Embezzling Public Funds

June 10, 2010, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications, Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer, Jane Robison, News Secretary, Shiara Dávila, Assistant PIO

(213) 974-3525

LOS ANGELES – The operators of Ivy Academia Charter School in the west San Fernando Valley were charged by the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division today with embezzling public funds and other crimes in connection with the alleged theft of more than $200,000.

Deputy District Attorney Sandi Roth, who is prosecuting the case, said Yevgeny Selivanov, 38 (dob 5/25/1972), and his wife, Tatyana Berkovich, 32 (2/16/1977), are expected to appear for arraignment tomorrow morning in Department 30 of Los Angeles Superior Court in the downtown civic center.

Selivanov, also known as Eugene Selivanov, and his wife are charged in a 38-count complaint (BA 372244) filed late today. The complaint alleged felony crimes of embezzlement of public funds, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds, loaning or profiting from public funds, knowingly keeping a false account and willfully filing a false state tax return. Misdemeanor counts also were included in the complaint — failure to file a statement of economic interests and conflict of interest.

The complaint alleged the loss was more than $65,000 and that embezzlement of public funds is a mandatory felony crime. It alleged the crimes occurred between 2004 and 2009.

If convicted as charged, Selivanov faces a possible maximum state prison term of 14 years and two months, while his wife faces a possible maximum nine-year term.

The charges filed today culminated an investigation by the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division, the Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Inspector General and the California Franchise Tax Board.

The defendants, from Tarzana, started Ivy Academia in 2004 for grades K through 12. It has four campuses in the west San Fernando Valley. They also co-own a private “for profit” preschool, Academy just for Kids, which shares a campus with the charter school.

Authorities said the charter school is operated with public funds including federal and state grants, local government funds and donations. Los Angeles Unified granted the charter and has oversight and auditing authority. It was one of those audits that prompted the investigation leading to today’s charges against the couple. 


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