A former assistant superintendent of the Corona-Norco Unified School District pleaded guilty Friday to charges accusing him of embezzling public funds for his own personal gain, officials announced.
Ted Eugene Rozzi, 61, admitted that from 2011 to 2017, he redirected more than $1 million in funds intended for school construction and facilities projects, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
“Rozzi used his position as assistant superintendent, his expertise in the field, and his relationship with a local contractor to steer funds away from public works and into his own personal accounts,” the release states.
The 61-year-old is to serve up to 2 years in state prison, according to prosecutors. He was also ordered to pay $1 million in restitution to the district, prior to his sentencing in January 2022.
A portion of the $1 million payment will come from the proceeds of the court-ordered liquidation of Rozzi’s real estate holdings.
During his guilty plea, Rozzi exonerated his co-defendant, Edward Curtis Mierau, saying Mierau didn’t know about the scheme. Rozzi admitted that he used his business relationship to take advantage of Mierau and his company, Neff Construction.
Rozzi and Mierau were originally charged together, but a post-filing investigation and Rozzi’s statement exonerating Mierau led prosecutors to dismiss all charges against him.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Matthew Murray of the Public Protection Unit.