Ex-clerk admits stealing more than $700,000 from Orange County school

A former clerk at Esperanza High School in Anaheim has pleaded guilty to charges that she stole more than $700,000 from the Associated Student Body, records show.

A woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling almost $710,000 while working as a clerk at an Orange County high school, records show.

Cynthia Marie Campbell, 64, of Midway was sentenced Friday to 14 years in state prison after entering her plea to 222 felony counts of misappropriation or embezzlement of monies by a public officer with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000.

Prosecutors accused Campbell, a former student finance clerk at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, stole approximately $709,084 from the Associated Student Body over a five-year period before she retired in 2017, prosecutors said.

The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District discovered that the funds were missing during an audit, authorities said.


Prosecutors said Campbell, who was employed by the school district from about February 1998 until her retirement, according to Anaheim Police Det. John Azze, took the money by writing checks to herself, her dead mother and her husband.

“The ASB funds in question were raised by students for various student activities and clubs on campus” and were kept separate from operational dollars, according to a statement from the school district.

In recent years, the district “has developed a comprehensive plan to strengthen processes and procedures to better support and secure ASB program funds” — including providing an educational workshop for school leaders and putting new transparency and accountability efforts in place, officials said.

The district also has hired a new independent audit firm and developed an anonymous hotline and online system for people to report instances of fraud, theft or other concerns, according to the statement.


City News Service contributed to this report.