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Ex-Schools Aide Pleads No Contest in Theft Case

March 30, 2000

LOS ANGELES — An ex-Los Angeles Unified employee pleaded no contest Wednesday to embezzling more than $12,000 from an office expense account and two student bank accounts. She will be sentenced to six months in county jail.

Ramona Collins, 42, of Inglewood, was arrested Dec. 9 and charged with one felony count each of misappropriation and embezzlement of funds by a public officer, and six counts of forgery.

She entered her plea to the misappropriation count, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The remaining charges will be dismissed at the time of sentencing, which is scheduled for May 11 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Gibbons said.

Collins will do six months in county jail, five years probation and make restitution to the L.A. Unified School District in the amount of $12,309.46, said Gibbons.

The former district employee could have faced a maximum of eight years in prison if she had been convicted of all original charges.

Collins worked as an aide in the district's Belmont Cluster Office until she went on leave for stress-related illness in February, Gibbons said. She resigned May 14.

According to prosecutors, Collins stole from the office and student body bank accounts by submitting receipts for expenses she did not incur. The falsified invoices were filed between Nov. 29, 1995, and Aug. 25, 1998, Gibbons said.

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