Official guilty of embezzling

The former finance director of a small, private university in Aliso Viejo was convicted this week of embezzling nearly $2 million in school funds, authorities said Tuesday.

Over nearly seven years, while he served as finance director and chief investment officer of Soka University, Kiyoshi Hatanaka, 52, of Aliso Viejo had more than $1.7 million transferred from university bank accounts to his own accounts, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in L.A.

The university, which opened in Aliso Viejo in 2001, has about 400 students. It is one of several Soka schools around the world.

Hatanaka was sentenced Monday in federal court to 37 months in prison and was ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution to the university.

-- Paloma Esquivel

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