U.S. Department of Justice
James T. Jacks
Acting United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009
|MEDIA INQUIRIES: KATHY COLVIN
PHONE: (214) 659-8600
FAX: (214) 767-2898
Former Lubock Independent School District Program Coordinator Sentenced for Stealing Federal "No Child Left Behind" Funds
LUBBOCK, Texas — Janie Sue Esparza, the former Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) Coordinator for the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to serve five years probation, perform 198 hours of community service, and pay $13,048.56 restitution. Esparza, 60, pled guilty in January 2009 to one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds. As part of her agreement with the government, Esparza agreed to surrender her Texas Educator Certificate and understands that she will not have an opportunity to re-apply for another Certificate.
According to documents filed in the case, from September 2004 through January 2007, while Esparza served as the LISD Bilingual/ESL Coordinator, she stole funds designated for that program. The U.S. Department of Education's Bilingual/ESL program, designed for language instruction of limited English proficient students, is part of the No Child Left Behind Act. As part of her duties, Esparza managed the budget for the Bilingual/ESL program.
Esparza admitted that she stole the funds by creating false receipts and invoices to justify program advances she received to purchase curriculum materials, such as books and kits, but actually did not purchase. At other times, Esparza created false receipts which were submitted to the LISD for reimbursement of purchased items, which she never actually purchased.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulina M. Jacobo of the Lubbock, Texas, U.S. Attorney's Office.