A teacher in the Inglewood Unifed School District has been charged with grand theft and embezzlement for allegedly setting up a personal bank account to bilk the school district, authorities said.
Leonard Matthews, who was principal of Hillcrest Continuation High School at the time of the alleged thefts and has since been demoted, was arraigned last week in Los Angeles Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of embezzlement and one count of grand theft involving as much as $4,000. His attorney, Carl Douglas, said Matthews plans to "vigorously deny that he committed any wrongdoing or illegality."
Matthews, who could not be reached for comment, is accused of depositing school funds in the unauthorized account over a 16-month period beginning in 1986, and using the money to cover such personal needs as groceries, cosmetics and a $218 Nativity scene that was ordered for the school but sent to his home.