Former Capistrano Unified School District Fundraising Director Charged with Embezzling Funds

Former Capistrano Unified School District Fundraising Director Charged with Embezzling Funds

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The former executive director of the Capistrano Unified School District Foundation (CUSDF) has been charged with embezzling more than $42,000 from the non-profit’s accounts.

Michelle Colleen Hart, 44, of Fresno, was charged with six felony counts of misappropriation or embezzlement of monies by a public officer. She is accused of embezzling the money by writing checks to herself and making unauthorized purchases on the CUSDF bank card.

CUSDF, now the CARE Foundation, is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. The mission of the CUSD Foundation is to raise money by developing partnerships with businesses and the community to enhance the quality of education for every student in the Capistrano Unified School District.

Hart served as the executive director for the foundation from May 2014 until December 2017 and resigned from her position after the theft was discovered.

CARE hired an outside Certified Public Accountant to review the foundation’s financial records in order to determine the scope of the loss. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Economic Crimes Detail investigated the case and turned it over to the District Attorney’s Major Fraud Unit for review.

Hart was arrested by the Fresno Police Department on Thursday and is currently being held on $42,088.91 bail, which is the amount of money she is accused of embezzling from the foundation. In order to post bail, she is required to prove that the funds she is using were not feloniously obtained.

Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Miller of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.