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US: Ex-Corona-Norco assistant superintendent Rozzi, construction chief charged with money laundering -- Press Enterprise

Found: Thu Nov 07 14:10:47 2019 PST
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2019 The Press-Enterprise Company
Webpage: [translate]

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Ex-Corona-Norco assistant superintendent Rozzi,...

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Ex-Corona-Norco assistant superintendent Rozzi, construction chief charged with money laundering

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Ted Eugene Rozzi was charged with 30 felonies related to his work as the assistant superintendent of facilities at the Corona-Norco Unified School District. (Press-Enterprise photo)

A former Corona-Norco school district assistant superintendent and the president of an Ontario construction firm that specializes in building schools have been charged with 27 felonies related to the theft of more than $1 million, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said.

Ted Eugene Rozzi, 60, of Redlands, worked for the school district for 27 years, most recently as assistant superintendent for facilities. Edward Curtis Mierau, 65, of Ladera Ranch, heads Neff Construction. Both were charged Tuesday, Nov. 5, with 15 counts of money laundering. Other charges included financially benefiting from a contract, embezzlement by a public officer, misappropriation of public funds and making a false entry into an account.

Rozzi surrendered Thursday at Riverside Superior Court and was released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 20 at the Hall of Justice in Riverside. Mierau was making arrangements to surrender, a district attorney's news release said.

Neff Construction said in an emailed statement Thursday that Mierau is innocent and cast all the blame on Rozzi.

Court records list the violations as starting on Jan. 10, 2011. The District Attorney's Office has recommended that bail be set at $1.17 million. The bail amount reflects how much money the District Attorney's Office said it believes was stolen.

The DA asked a judge Tuesday to freeze Rozzi's bank accounts.

From 1992 to 2017, Rozzi supervised all aspects of construction for the district. During the investigation, which began in May 2017, search warrants were served and it was determined that there were transactions between Rozzi and Mierau in which Rozzi asked for checks to be written from Neff Construction to various financial institutions -- and not the school district -- on projects where expenses were billed to school construction projects, the release said. Investigators determined that more than $1.1 million was stolen between December 2011 and May 2017.

The investigation determined that the money that was intended for school projects was funneled through Neff Construction and wound up in Rozzi's personal bank accounts.

"We are angry and disappointed that an executive-level administrator in our district would abuse his position of trust to manipulate our facilities accounts for his own financial gain, Corona-Norco Superintendent Michael Lin said in the DA's news release.

Even as, authorities say, Rozzi was stealing money, he received in 2017 the Classified Leader of the Year Award from the Association of California School Administrators board of directors. The criteria for the award include association members "who show strong support for the school management team; exceptional leadership in managing school programs; commitment to educational quality and student achievement; commitment to professional growth; and creativity and innovation in dealing with issues and problems facing public education."

The Neff Construction website says the company has built schools in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

"With an unwavering dedication to integrity and team building, Neff Construction has established and maintains solid, long-term relationships with school districts, designers, trade contractors, state agencies and other stakeholders," the website says.

Neff Construction, in a statement attributed to its attorney, former District Attorney Rod Pacheco, said that it has documentation that the money transfers were authorized by more than one person in the school district and that Rozzi disguised an illegal scheme as a legitimate government system. Pacheco will be Mierau's attorney in the criminal case.

"We were shocked when we were made aware of this and immediately cooperated with law enforcement," the statement said. "We firmly support and stand behind our CEO, who will take a leave of absence to continue to cooperate with authorities until this investigation is concluded and his innocence is fully restored."

A school district news release Thursday said two district employees reported their suspicions to law enforcement in August 2017. Rozzi was placed on administrative leave Aug. 11 of that year and resigned Aug. 14. The district said it provided law enforcement with records for the investigation.

"It has since been revealed Rozzi worked in a deliberate and deceitful manner to avoid detection," the district statement said.

Since Rozzi's resignation, the district said, it has restructured departments to add more layers of accountability and plans to have audits of its practices.

"The school district will do everything legally possible to recoup any financial losses we have suffered," the statement concluded.

This is the second embezzlement case in 2019 involving a person associated with the school district. In June, former Corona-Norco district board member William Clarence Newberry was charged with grand theft, embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation of public funds. Newberry had been president of the Riverside County School Boards Association and president of Eleanor Roosevelt High's Climate Booster Club. Newberry is accused of stealing $23,000 from that club and $40,000 in all.

Newberry, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is due in court Dec. 3 for a status conference.

This story is developing. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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Brian Rokos

Brian Rokos writes about public safety issues such as policing, criminal justice, scams, how law affects public safety, firefighting tactics and wildland fire danger. He has also covered the cities of San Bernardino, Corona, Norco, Lake Elsinore, Perris, Canyon Lake and Hemet. Before that he supervised reporters and worked as a copy editor. For some reason, he enjoys movies where the Earth is threatened with extinction.

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analysis of article text

prohibitionist hits:0 government drug warrior (prohibition_agency) hits:0 propaganda (drugwar_propaganda) hits:19 legalization hits:0 drug_reformer hits:0 reform_referenda hits:0 cannabis hits:0 stimulant hits:0 narcotic hits:0 hallucinogen hits:0
    prohibitionist     prohibition_agency     drugwar_propaganda     legalization     drug_reformer
    reform_referenda     cannabis     stimulant     narcotic     hallucinogen

incarceration/prison mentioned? NO - the issue of prison or incarceration was NOT mentioned in this article .

propaganda analysis

explicit prohibition propaganda (explicit_propaganda) hits:0 hated group (propaganda_theme1) hits:0 madness, violence, illness (propaganda_theme2) hits:12 survival of society (propaganda_theme3) hits:6 gateway, use is abuse (propaganda_theme4) hits:0 children (propaganda_theme5) hits:1 demonize, war, epidemic (propaganda_theme6) hits:0 total prohibition (propaganda_theme7) hits:0 dissent opposed (propaganda_theme8) hits:0
EXP - explicit prohibition propaganda (explicit_propaganda) GRP - hated group (propaganda_theme1) MAD - madness, violence, illness (propaganda_theme2)
SOC - survival of society (propaganda_theme3) USE - gateway, use is abuse (propaganda_theme4) KID - children (propaganda_theme5)
WAR - demonize, war, epidemic (propaganda_theme6) TOT - total prohibition (propaganda_theme7) DIS - dissent opposed (propaganda_theme8)

 drug of abuse implied / mentioned

drug related 50%
[news] [concept]

drug ngo  
drugwar_propaganda : a drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, or themepropaganda

drugwar propaganda 75%
[news] [concept]

propaganda theme2 propaganda theme3 propaganda theme5 Why Are Americans So Easy to Manipulate? (Bruce E Levine, 2012)
Classic Modern Drug Propaganda
Themes in Chemical Prohibition
Drug War Propaganda (kindle edition)
propaganda_theme2 : drug war propaganda theme: madness, violence, illness caused by drugsmadness, violence, illness

propaganda theme2 70%
[news] [concept]

"Crime" "criminal" "Inappropriate" "threatened" "threatening" "danger" "problems"12Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2)
Distortion 18: Cannabis and Mental Illness
No, marijuana use doesn't lower your IQ (10/2014)
propaganda_theme3 : drug war propaganda theme: survival of societysurvival of society

propaganda theme3 75%
[news] [concept]

"community" "Public Safety"6Survival of Society (propaganda theme 3)
The "Nation" as a Device To Create a Psychological Crowd
propaganda_theme5 : drug war propaganda theme: children corrupted by drugschildren

propaganda theme5 60%
[news] [concept]

"children"1Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5)
Think of the children
 drug ngo 50%
[news] [concept]
drug reform ngo  
 drug reform ngo 50%
[news] [concept]
ramp Drug Reform Organization link database
 ramp 50%
[news] [concept]
 youth 60%
[news] [concept]
propaganda theme5
[news] [concept]
"School" "schools" "College"
 aggrandizing government

aggrandizement 85%
[news] [concept]

"authorities" "authorized"5Statism: the Most Dangerous Religion (2014 video)
What is Statism?
Conservapedia: Statism
Wikipedia: Statolatry
Bought Priesthood
Worship of the U. S. Government (2011)
Bureaucratic Thrust
Tyranny of Experts
The Threat of Authority (2012)
The Media As Enablers of Government Lies
The Statist Mindset (Jacob Hornberger, 2011)
Thinking Critically about Experts and Authority
'Scientific' evidence for FDA-approved drugs isn't so scientific, it turns out (2014)
The Intellectual Gravy Train (2015)
 jury 50%
[news] [concept]
"not guilty"
Guerrilla Jurors: Sticking it to Leviathan
This Powerful Jury Tool Can End the Drug War Today (2014)
Jury Nullification - The True Duty of a Jury (2013)
Nullify the War on Drugs
Jury Nullification is a Game Changer (2015)

st:0.01 fo:0 s:0.01 d:0 c:0 db:0.121 a:0.66 m:0.21 t:1.2 (f)

text of article used for CRITICAL ANALYSIS, under FAIR USE provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107, et al.

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    article tags


    jury concept - people who render verdicts, penalties or judgments
    aggrandizement concept - terms of aggrandizement (of government)
    school concept
    youth concept
    ramp concept - Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP)
    drug_reform_ngo concept - drug policy reform organization
    drug_ngo concept
    propaganda_theme5 concept - drug war propaganda theme: children corrupted by drugs
    propaganda_theme3 concept - drug war propaganda theme: survival of society
    propaganda_theme2 concept - drug war propaganda theme: madness, violence, illness caused by drugs
    drugwar_propaganda concept - a drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, or theme
    drug_related concept - related to illegal drugs and prohibition