A husband and wife who contracted with Los Angeles County to operate four foster homes pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that they embezzled more than $460,000.
CSJ Kidogo, executive director of Little People’s World, and his wife, Hitaji Kidogo, LPW’s assistant executive director, are charged with 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,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said last Thursday after the two were arrested at their Banning home. “Money intended to care for children in foster homes instead lined the pockets of the executives who ran the programs.”
The Los Angeles County’s Auditor-Controller discovered in an audit 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.
The two are due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Oct. 3, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, they are each facing up to 14 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service
Leave a comment