The finance and business manager of a nonprofit Santa Rosa charter school has been arrested for allegedly embezzling nearly $400,000 to support a prescription drug habit, Santa Rosa police said today. Sheila Accornero, 42, of Cloverdale, is being held in the Sonoma County jail without bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Sonoma County Court on felony embezzlement, forgery, burglary, narcotic possession charges and probation violations.
Accornero worked as a bookkeeper for the past five years at the K-6 Kids Street Learning Center charter school at 709 Davis St., police Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said. Police received a tip about the alleged embezzlement during the past several weeks and believe Accornero misappropriated almost $400,000 over the past three years, Lazzarini said. The total amount of missing money has not been determined and none of the money has been recovered, Lazzarini said. The school’s administrators were unaware of the missing money until detectives contacted them Tuesday, Lazzarini said.The school’s executive director and principal Linda Conklin did not return a phone call this afternoon.
The school is funded through grants and donations, police said. Accornero had a large amount of prescription pain pills when she was arrested, Lazzarini said. Accornero is believed to have acted alone, Lazzarini said. “She wrote checks to herself, cashed them and spent them all on prescription drugs,” Lazzarini said. “Some of the checks totaled $20,000 to $30,000 a month. There were a lot of transactions,” Lazzarini said. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office also investigated the alleged embezzlement. On its website, the Kids Street Learning Center lists its mission as providing children and families living in extreme crisis a caring, supportive educational community to call home. The school fosters a “hands-on, real world self initiated education,” according to the website, and also offers an after-school program.
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