D.A.: Ex-charter school board member stole $750,000

A former board member with a Newport Beach-based charter school nonprofit is believed to have stolen $750,000 that he promised to invest on behalf of the organization, according to charges filed by the Orange County district attorney.

The alleged theft would be the largest from a California charter school outfit, the district attorney's office said in an announcement 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 CAVEP, which operates five online charter schools.

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, according to the district attorney's office, which accuses him of laundering the money for personal gain by moving it through various bank accounts.

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's 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 over $200,000 and fraudulent transactions over $150,000.

Landau faces a maximum of 14 years and eight months in prison, if convicted. He is in custody in Orange County Jail on $750,000 bail. If he posts bond, he must prove that the money was legitimately obtained.

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