Home San Diego Press Releases 2010 Former School Superintendent and Two College Professors Charged with Wire Fraud

Former School Superintendent and Two College Professors Charged with Wire Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 30, 2010
  • Southern District of California (619) 557-5610

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that two indictments were unsealed today charging three individuals with fraud in connection with the use of federal grant monies obtained from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) related to elementary school science and math education in Imperial County, California. The defendants include Dr. Michael Klentschy, former superintendent of the El Centro Elementary School District, and Olga Amaral and Leslie Garrison, both former professors at San Diego State University’s Imperial Valley Campus.

According to court records, indictment number 10cr4643-BEN charges the defendants with conspiring to enrich themselves by unlawfully diverting NSF and DoEd grant money to their own use and benefit and with fraudulently obtaining and intentionally misapplying grant money. In addition to the conspiracy charge, that indictment also includes charges of mail fraud and theft from programs receiving federal funds. Indictment number 10cr4642-BEN charges Klentschy alone and separately with: (1) seeking and obtaining multiple duplicate travel reimbursements while working for the El Centro Elementary School District and on federal grants and alleges that one of the sources of reimbursement in each instance was the School District; and (2) falsifying data regarding student standardized test results, which data Klentschy prepared, submitted, and relied upon to advance his own interests in connection with a $5.4 million NSF grant.

Both indictments also include criminal forfeiture allegations. The indictments were unsealed earlier today during the initial appearances of the defendants. Motion hearings/trial settings have been set in both matters for January 14, 2011 before United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez.

These cases are being investigated by special agents with the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 10CR4642-BEN
Michael P. Klentschy Age: 66


DEFENDANTS Criminal Case No. 10CR4643-BEN
Michael P. Klentschy Age: 66
Olga Amaral Age: 56
Leslie Garrison Age: 61

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Criminal Case No. 10CR4642-BEN

  • Counts 1 through 8: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 – Mail Fraud
    Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count
  • Counts 9 through 32: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 – Wire Fraud
    Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

Criminal Case No. 10CR4643-BEN

  • Count 1: Title 19, United States Code, Section 371 – Conspiracy
    Maximum Penalties: Five years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine
  • Counts 2 through 13: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 – Mail Fraud
    Maximum Penalties: 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count
  • Counts 14 through 16: Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A) – Theft from Program Receiving
  • Federal Funds:
  • Maximum Penalties: 10 years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine per count

PARTICIPATING AGENCIES

  • National Science Foundation-Office of Inspector General
  • U.S. Department of Education-Office of Inspector General
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation