San Fernando Valley charter school principal sentenced to 5 years for embezzlement

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The former principal of a San Fernando Valley charter school pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling nearly a million-and-a-half dollars in public funds.

Prosecutors alleged that while he was principal at the 500-student New Academy Canoga Park in 2008 and 2009, Edward Fiszer embezzled checks he deposited into a stock trading account. Fiszer was fired a year ago. Investigators arrested him in New Jersey a few months ago and brought him to Los Angeles to face a 57-count indictment.

The guilty plea is part of an agreement that also requires 40-year-old Fiszer to repay the charter school $1.4 million. Immediately after the plea L.A. Superior Court Judge Judith Champagne sentenced Fiszer to five years in state prison.

An L.A. Unified audit this year revealed about $3 million in unaccounted funds at the school between 2007 and 2009. After the audit, the district moved to revoke the school’s charter to operate.

A spokeswoman says L.A. Unified has stopped that process because administrators at New Academy Canoga Park have overhauled fiscal and accounting policies – and have agreed to submit to monthly fiscal updates during this school year.