Couple pleads guilty to taking money intended for abused, neglected kids
A couple pleaded guilty Monday to taking thousands of dollars meant for the care of abused and neglected children.
CSJ Kidogo, 74, the former chief executive of Little People’s World, pleaded guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of funds and will spend six months in jail.
His wife, Hitaji Kidogo, the 64-year-old former assistant executive director, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. She will receive no jail time and will be placed on probation for five years.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office was unable to say how much money will be repaid, although it noted that a partial payment of $106,000 will be delivered at the couple’s sentencing hearing in January.
When the Kidogos were charged, prosecutors said the couple had embezzled $460,000 to purchase personal property and make other forbidden expenditures.
Both defendants will be prohibited from operating foster care homes.
Little People’s World, which has repeatedly drawn scrutiny for irregular spending over the years, runs two group homes in Compton and two in Riverside County.
The organization cared for about 28 children requiring high-level care because of their special needs and received about $2.5 million annually from the counties.
When charges were filed, the Kidogos initially struck a defiant tone.
One of their attorneys, Austin Dove, said prosecutors were trying to hold the couple accountable for financial bookkeeping rules that were never properly communicated by county officials.
“This spectacle is more about the continued dysfunction of Department of Children and Family Services than my clients’ criminal culpability,” Dove said.
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