Our investigation revealed that from July 1998 through November 2003, Robert Canchola, the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent may have embezzled at least $16,549 by fraudulently authorizing Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office checks to pay his personal debts. In addition, Mr. Canchola may have violated conflict-of-interest laws by failing to file disclosure statements and participating in numerous payments to family-owned businesses totaling $10,175. On October 19, 2005, the Arizona Superior Court Grand Jury indicted Mr. Canchola on a total of 40 counts related to theft, fraudulent schemes, misuse of public money and conflicts of interest.
Our investigation also revealed that from September 1998 through April 2004, Hortencia Rodriguez, a former Accounting Specialist for the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office allegedly embezzled at least $8,500 from the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office by writing six county school checks to herself, her husband, and her son for personal purposes. On September 26, 2005, in the Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Ms. Rodriguez pled guilty to theft and was sentenced to 30 days in the county jail and ordered to pay $8,500 restitution.