The founder of Los Angeles charter school network Celerity Educational Group has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to misappropriate and embezzle public funds, federal prosecutors said Friday.
The felony charge stems from Vielka McFarlane’s years-long habit of using her charter schools’ credit card to pay for expensive clothing, luxury hotel stays and first-class flights for her and her family.
According to the plea agreement made public Friday, she admitted to misspending about $2.5 million in public funds — all of which had been intended for her students.
McFarlane also used taxpayer dollars meant for her California charter schools to buy and renovate an office building in Columbus, Ohio, where she opened another charter school. At about $2.3 million, the purchase represented the bulk of the misspent funds, according to prosecutors.
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