Former SFUSD Employee Pleads Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Scheme to Wrongfully Divert Public Money

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 4, 2016

@GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:       ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931

  MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089

 

FORMER SFUSD EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR SCHEME TO WRONGFULLY DIVERT PUBLIC MONEY

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that Trish Bascom, a former Associate Superintendent at the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), pled guilty to ten felony charges in connection with a decade-long scheme to divert over $15 million dollars in public money into slush fund accounts held at private non-profit organizations. 

“Defrauding the public school system comes at the expense of institutions that are fundamental to the future of our children,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “The needs and interests of our city’s kids must come first.”

On August 1, 2016, before the Honorable Judge Carol Yaggy in Department 28 of the San Francisco Superior Court, defendant Bascom pled guilty to the following felony charges: four counts of embezzlement in violation of California Penal Code Section 504, three counts of forgery in violation of California Penal Code Section 470(d), two counts of presenting fraudulent claims to the City and County of San Francisco in violation of California Penal Code Section 72, and one count of perjury in violation of California Penal Code Section 118.  

As a result of this plea, Bascom faces up to five years of local imprisonment.  According to the terms of the plea, the judge will conduct a hearing at the time of Bascom’s sentencing.  After that hearing, the judge will impose a sentence that will not exceed five years of local imprisonment. 

According to court documents, Bascom and four of her co-defendants colluded over a period of up to ten years to wrongfully divert public money into slush fund accounts hidden at private non-profit organizations. Money from these funds was allegedly disbursed at the direction of defendant Bascom and members of her executive team in the Student Support Services Division without the knowledge of SFUSD administrators. Bascom admitted to creating fraudulent documents and submitting them to SFUSD in order to divert grant funds to hidden slush fund accounts held at several community-based organizations.  Bascom also admitted to committing perjury when she signed documents required of public officers under the Fair Political Practices Act by failing to report payments she received from the community-based organizations.

“The District referred concerns to law enforcement immediately upon learning about the allegations," said SFUSD Superintendent Richard A. Carranza. "We conducted a top to bottom review of the department and its practices and have put in place several measures to prevent any similar wrongdoing in the future. The actions taken by this small group of former employees does not represent the overall integrity and professionalism of SFUSD's employees.”

The case has been continued to October 28 in Department 28 at 9:00 a.m., at which time the sentencing hearing may be scheduled.

There are two other co-defendants who have already pled guilty in this case: Meyla Ruwin and Betty Wong. There are three other co-defendants whose cases remain open.
 

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