Longtime public schools official Priscilla Rocha will remain released on her own recognizance until her April 2015 trial on 50 felony counts related to $289,000 in alleged thefts from the Clark County School District, decided a district court judge Wednesday.
Rocha faces charges in leading an extensive scheme to take taxpayer money through “ghost employees,” fake companies, secret bank accounts, student fees that shouldn’t have been charged and equipment thefts, dating back to 2005. The school district equipment was spread as far as Ensenada, Mexico.
Three of Rocha’s four co-defendants — accused of taking part and financially benefiting in the alleged scheme of stealing taxpayer money and equipment — were also released Wednesday without having to post bail.
District Court Judge Kenneth Cory set a $20,000 bail for defendant Jaime Espitia, 41, who is considered a flight risk although he’s a 22-year resident of Las Vegas.
“I was most concerned about him because of his illegal status,” said Cory in the bail hearing, referring to Espitia’s illegal entry into the U.S. from Mexico.
None of the five defendants were taken into custody at any point and have voluntarily appeared for all hearings.
Rocha, 66, was director of the school district’s Adult English Language Acquisitions Services division, which teaches English to adults and has an annual budget of $1.1 million. She’s charged with 26 counts of theft and 24 counts of unlawful use of public money. Her son, 44-year-old Jerome Rocha, who lives in New Mexico, is charged with 10 theft counts.
The other defendants are Donnie Placencia, 50, of New Mexico, who faces 10 theft counts; Andres Mendoza, 47, of Las Vegas, who is charged with theft, burglary and possession of stolen property; and Jaime Espitia, 41, of Las Vegas, who faces two theft counts.
Contact Trevon Milliard at email@example.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @TrevonMilliard.