Embezzlement at a Fresno County School

Fresno, CA Action News talked with Officials about how they're surviving without cuts and how they're keeping a closer eye on their finances.

As the only school in its district, Orange Center Elementary School prides itself on being a close knit school. That's why Superintendent and Principal John Stahl was shocked to discover his long time business manager allegedly embezzled over $400-thousand dollars from the school.

"It was a shock. I couldn't believe it. The individual had been here 21 years," said Stahl.

Stahl says because of the economy, the school had very little money to spare and noticed some of it was missing during a yearly audit in January, that's when they called authorities.

"We were looking at cutting programs, services and then straightening out where the money was taken from because it was moved around from account to account," said Stahl.

After a four month investigation Fresno County Sheriffs searched the home of Orange Center's former Business Manager Leonard Robinson on Tuesday he was arrested and charged with embezzlement and grand theft.

Sheriff Chris Curtice said, "He actually was writing checks to himself. And he has been employed so long he was a trusted employee."

Detectives say Robinson has been cooperative. When Action News contacted him he had no comment and referred us to his lawyer who didn't return our call.

Fortunately, the school did not have to cut programs and was able to get the entire $400-thousand dollars back in insurance money.

"Within a 5 month period we received our check I couldn't believe it. I was stunned," said Stahl.

Stahl says they have implemented a system of checks and balance for the new business manager, but for him the loss of trust is the biggest issue.

"You lose a certain amount of faith in people when something like this happens, and I'll gain it back, I know I will. It was devastating to us all of us," said Stahl.

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