2nd Executive at L.A. Charter Schools Network Celerity Charged, Accused of Conspiring to Misuse and Embezzle Funds

Pictured in this undated photo is The Celerity Dyad Charter School in Los Angeles, which closed in 2018. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Pictured in this undated photo is The Celerity Dyad Charter School in Los Angeles, which closed in 2018. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The former chief executive of the Los Angeles-based charter school network Celerity Educational Group has been charged with conspiracy to misappropriate and embezzle public funds — money that was intended for students at Celerity’s schools but was used for lavish travel and the purchase of a property in Ohio, according to court papers.

In a 23-count indictment filed Thursday, a federal grand jury accused Grace Canada, 45, of participating in the scheme with Celerity’s founder, Vielka McFarlane, to unlawfully direct millions of public education dollars for outlays such as first-class plane tickets, fine dining, custom bikes and a Beverly Hills shopping excursion.

Canada was also charged with making false statements to federal investigators during an interview last summer about paying for the Columbus, Ohio, building — a purchase that executives hoped would expand Celerity into a national charter education brand.

McFarlane pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of conspiracy to misappropriate and embezzle public funds, a charge that carries up to five years in federal prison. As part of her plea agreement, McFarlane, 56, admitted to much of the conspiracy that Canada is now accused of joining.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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