A former board member with a Newport Beach-based charter school nonprofit is being accused of stealing $750,000 that he promised to invest on behalf of the organization, according to charges filed by the Orange County district attorney’s office.
The alleged theft would be the largest from a California charter school outfit, the district attorney’s office announced Tuesday.
Jeremy Landau, 43, joined the board of California Virtual Education Partners in May, and in June he allegedly asked to invest taxpayer money for the organization, which operates five online charter schools, the Daily Pilot reported.
He allegedly convinced enough board members to support his idea by promising a speedy $3-million return.
But Landau didn’t return a dollar of the $750,000, instead laundering the money for personal gain by moving it through various bank accounts, Orange County prosecutors said.
CAVEP’s board became suspicious and hired a private investigator. In November, the investigator presented his case to prosecutors. The district attorney’s office and FBI arrested Landau on Monday.
He has been charged with 13 felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and one felony count of conflict of interest in a sale and purchase.
Prosecutors are also seeking sentencing enhancements for allegedly causing more than $100,000 in losses, property losses of more than $200,000 and fraudulent transactions exceeding $150,000.
Landau faces a maximum 14 years and eight months in prison if convicted. He remains in custody in Orange County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail. If he posts bond, he must prove that the money was legitimately obtained.
Jeremiah Dobruck is a Times Community News staff writer.