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District Attorney Boudin Announces Charges for Theft From a Local Nonprofit Serving Students of Color

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CONTACT: Rachel Marshall, (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org Director of Communications / Policy Advisor / Assistant District Attorney

San Francisco – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced today that he has charged James Andrew Ahrens with two felony charges for violating Penal Code §487(a) (Grand Theft) and §470(a) (Forgery).  Ahrens allegedly used his position as the Controller and Chief Financial Officer at the nonprofit organization Partners in School Innovation (PSI) to embezzle over $150,000 for his own personal use. 

“When an employee abuses a position of trust for personal financial gain, my office will hold them accountable for their actions,” said District Attorney Boudin.  “This kind of misconduct by employees especially harms nonprofits, which rely on funding from grants and donations. Partners in Schools works to support educators who serve vulnerable youth; the violations in this case harmed the organization and its mission to help disadvantaged children succeed.  We hope that our prosecution will deter any future misconduct by anyone who seeks to exploit a position of trust for their own gain: you will be held accountable.”

According to court documents, Ahrens was hired in 2012 as the Controller and Chief Financial Officer for PSI and worked at the office located at 1060 Tennessee Street in San Francisco.  PSI is a nonprofit organization that supports educators to help them improve their schools and districts so that low-income students of color can succeed.  Ahrens’ responsibility was to oversee all financial activities including expenditures and charges made on behalf of the organization.  The District Attorney’s Office alleges that Ahrens made unauthorized charges, wrote checks to himself, and withdrew cash for his personal use to an amount over $150,000 from May 2012 to June 2018.

This case was investigated by San Francisco Police Department Inspector Robert Steger (retired) and Sergeant Brian Burke.  Assistant District Attorney Conrad Del Rosario is prosecuting this case.

Mr. Ahrens is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in department 11.