Construction Company & District Official Indicted For Diverting $3.6 Million From Schools

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced a 74-count felony indictment against a former Santa Maria-Bonita School District official and three executives from TurnKey, a Temecula-based company, for misappropriating $3.6 million in public money for schools.

Turnkey misappropriated money that was supposed to go to construction costs of sixteen Santa Barbara County schools. From 2000 and 2002, TurnKey entered $62 million in construction contracts with the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, promising to complete several school projects. Records show instead of using these funds to pay for the projects, executives purchased expensive automobiles, artwork and gave themselves cash bonuses.

In early 2003, TurnKey fell behind in payments to subcontractors who were hired to build the schools. To cover their debt, Turnkey submitted false invoices to the school district. Cynthia Lynn Clark, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools knew about the false invoices yet didn’t report it to the school board of file any criminal charges. .

A Santa Barbara grand jury returned the indictment on March 14, 2008 against former company executives Harold Leo Clark III, 46, Michael Patrick Bannan, 43, David Irwin, 39, and Cynthia Lynn Clark, 54, on 74 counts of Misappropriation of Public Monies, Embezzlement of Public Funds, Diversion of Construction Funds, and Grand Theft of over $3.6 million between June 2004 and September 2004.

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