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OIG: Office of Inspector General
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Investigation Report

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

San Diego, California

United States Attorney
Laura E. Duffy

For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence A. Casper (619)557-7455
For Immediate Release

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY - Novermber 30, 2010

Former El Centro Elementary School District Superintendent and Two Former San Diego State University Professors Indicted

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that two indictments were unsealed today charging three individuals with fraud in connection with the use of federal grant monies obtained from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) related to elementary school science and math education in Imperial County, California. The defendants include Dr. Michael Klentschy, former Superintendent of the El Centro Elementary School District, and Olga Amaral and Leslie Garrison, both former professors at San Diego State University’s Imperial Valley Campus.

According to court records, indictment number 10cr4643-BEN charges the defendants with conspiring to enrich themselves by unlawfully diverting NSF and DoEd grant money to their own use and benefit and with fraudulently obtaining and intentionally misapplying grant money. In addition to the conspiracy charge, that indictment also includes charges of mail fraud and theft from programs receiving federal funds. Indictment number 10cr4642-BEN charges Klentschy alone and separately with: (1) seeking and obtaining multiple duplicate travel reimbursements while working for the El Centro Elementary School District and on federal grants and alleges that one of the sources of reimbursement in each instance was the School District; and (2) falsifying data regarding student standardized test results, which data Klentschy prepared, submitted, and relied upon to advance his own interests in connection with a $5.4 million NSF grant. Both indictments also include criminal forfeiture allegations.

The indictments were unsealed earlier today during the initial appearances of the defendants. Motion hearings/trial settings have been set in both matters for January 14, 2011 before United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez.

These cases are being investigated by Special Agents with the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


DEFENDANT

Michael P. Klentschy
Criminal Case No. 10CR4642-BEN

Age: 66



DEFENDANT

Michael P. Klentschy
Olga Amaral
Leslie Garrison
Criminal Case No. 10CR4643-BEN

Age: 66
Age: 56
Age: 61


SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Criminal Case No. 10CR4642-BEN

Counts 1 through 8: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 – Mail Fraud
              Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

Counts 9 through 32: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 – Wire Fraud
              Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

Criminal Case No. 10CR4643-BEN

Count 1: Title 19, United States Code, Section 371 – Conspiracy
              Maximum Penalties: 5 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine

Counts 2 through 13: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 – Mail Fraud
              Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

Counts 14 through 16: Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A) – Theft from Program Receiving Federal Funds:
              Maximum Penalties: 10 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

PARTICIPATING AGENCIES

National Science Foundation-Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education-Office of Inspector General
Federal Bureau of Investigation

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


 
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Last Modified: 04/14/2011