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Lolita Garcia, 57, in 2008 founded a nonprofit Central Coast Kids & Families for children with disabilities and special needs. She was booked into jail on charges of embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Monterey County prosecutor Emily Hickock says Garcia allegedly embezzled over $675,000 of the charity’s funds. She spent money on a Porsche, a diamond Rolex watch, Louis Vuitton purses, personal apparel, travel.
In 2012, the organization brought in a revenue of just over $1 million for providing “support for 434 special needs and medically fragile students,” according to tax filings. The filings show no record of any donation made to the charity during the available period from 2008 to 2012.
As per prosecutors, embezzlement was made during 2013 – 2015 and the center was operating as a nonprofit. Garcia changed it to a for-profit the following year.
Theft was uncovered when a CPA was preparing delinquent tax returns for Central Coast Kids and Families. He saw transactions that he thought were problematic and reported it to the State Attorney General’s Office.
After her arrest, she was booked in the Santa Cruz County Jail and was released on bail the same day. Her defense attorney John Conigliosaid, “Ms. Garcia does very special work helping kids who face significant challenges.”
Monterey Superior Court pursuant to the aggravated white collar crime statute, which freezes assets owned and controlled by Garcia. It preserves such assets for purposes of fines and restitution during the pendency of legal proceedings.