Foster Care Agency Directors Charged With Embezzlement

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Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, shown in 2012, has charged husband-and-wife foster care executives with misuse of public funds. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

A husband and wife have been charged with embezzling more than $460,000 from a taxpayer-funded nonprofit agency hired by Los Angeles County to help abused and neglected foster children, the district attorney’s office announced Thursday.

The couple, arrested at their Banning home Thursday, face 22 counts of misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement.

A county audit in 2011 concluded that CSJ Kidogo, the executive director of the nonprofit Little People’s World, and his wife, Hitaji Kidogo, assistant executive director, used agency money to purchase personal real estate in Northern California and Oklahoma. The couple also allegedly borrowed agency money without repaying it, funded personal vacations and collected salaries totaling $269,000, according to the audit, which formed the basis for the criminal case.

“Money intended to care for children in foster homes instead lined the pockets of the executives who ran the programs,” said Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey. The couple did not respond to messages left at their home and business.

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