Former Capistrano Unified School District Fundraising Director Charged With Embezzling More Than $42,000

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The former executive director of the Capistrano Unified School District’s fundraising organization has been charged with embezzling more than $42,000 from the non-profit’s accounts, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Tuesday.

Michelle Colleen Hart, 44, of Fresno, is charged with six felony counts of misappropriation or embezzlement of monies by a public officer.

Prosecutors say Hart wrote checks to herself and made unauthorized purchases with the foundation’s bank card.

Hart served as the executive director of the school district’s fundraising organization, the CARE Foundation, from May 2014 to December 2017. She resigned from her post after the theft was discovered, prosecutors said.

The CARE Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation that develops partnerships with businesses and the community to raise money for the Capistrano Unified School District, which is the second largest school district in Orange County with more than 54,000 students.

Hart was arrested by the Fresno Police Department on Thursday. Her bail was set at $42,088.91 – the amount she is accused of embezzling from the school district’s foundation. In order to post bail, Hart must prove that money was not fraudulently obtained, prosecutors said.

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