A husband and wife who contracted with Los Angeles County to operate four foster homes were arrested Thursday in connection with charges that they embezzled more than $460,000, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
CSJ Kidogo, executive director of Little People’s World, and his wife, Hitaji Kidogo, LPW’s assistant executive director, were taken into custody at their home in Banning by investigators from the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation in connection with a 22-count warrant, officials said.
The two are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on 11 counts each of misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement by a public or private officer.
“I am pleased to announce that Little People’s World Group Homes will be closing soon because of these arrests today,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “Money intended to care for children in foster homes instead lined the pockets of the executives who ran the programs.”
An audit by Los Angeles County’s Auditor-Controller discovered that CSJ Kidogo borrowed money earmarked for foster care to purchase real estate for himself and to pay mortgages on properties not used in the foster care program, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors also allege that the couple used public funds for their own financial gain.
If convicted as charged, the two are each facing up to 14 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service