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Valley Academy for Career and Technical Education⁠—Criminal Indictment⁠—Theft and Misuse of Public Monies


As part of its responsibility to prevent and detect fraud, Valley Academy for Career and Technical Education (VACTE) officials took appropriate action by reporting a fraud allegation to us. Our investigation revealed that from June 2015 through March 2016, Celestia Ziemkowski, former business manager, may have embezzled VACTE monies when she issued 5 unauthorized warrants totaling $19,851 for her personal purposes and used a VACTE credit card to make personal purchases totaling $10,746. Ms. Ziemkowski may have also falsified VACTE documents and information in VACTE’s accounting software and Governing Board packets to conceal her actions. We have submitted our report to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which on June 24, 2019, presented evidence to the State Grand Jury. The action resulted in Ms. Ziemkowski’s indictment on 19 felony counts related to theft, misuse of public monies, fraudulent schemes, computer tampering, and forgery.