Skip to main content

Sunnyside Unified School District—Criminal Indictment—Conflict of Interest, Fraudulent Schemes, and False Filing


As part of their responsibility to prevent and detect fraud, Sunnyside Unified School District (District) officials took appropriate action by reporting to us an allegation of financial misconduct by former Parents as Teachers program coordinator Joan Katz. Our investigation revealed that from January through March 2019, Ms. Katz allegedly falsified, or directed a subordinate employee to falsify, District records to conceal her failure to comply with District purchasing requirements when she obtained services for 2 separate projects totaling $3,874. Specifically, without soliciting for competitive price quotes, as required by District policy, Ms. Katz purchased $1,374 of services from her daughter’s company and $2,500 of services from a District employee’s company. Moreover, Ms. Katz illicitly participated in the District purchase from her daughter’s company and failed to disclose her conflict of interest until after the District had paid her daughter. We have submitted our report to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which on September 20, 2021, presented evidence to the State Grand Jury. The action resulted in Ms. Katz’s indictment on 5 felony counts related to conflict of interest, fraudulent schemes, and filing false instruments.