Olga Amaral and Leslie Garrison, two former San Diego State Imperial Valley Campus professors, entered guilty pleas last month for giving false statements to a federal officer.
Amaral and Garrison, who entered their pleas on May 24, were indicted in 2010 along with former El Centro Elementary School District Superintendent Michael Klentschy for 16 counts of conspiracy, theft and fraud.
The trio was accused of stealing more than $5 million in grant money from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the three could face more than 250 years in prison and $6 million in fines if convicted for all counts.
Amaral and Garrison will be sentenced on Aug. 27. Klentschy pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges in March and will be sentenced June 25.
SDSU media relations specialist Gina Jacobs said the university fully cooperated with the investigation and that it is “pleased to see justice served.”
Amaral and Garrison were also employees of the SDSU’s Research Foundation, which administers the grant funds.
The indictment states as part of the conspiracy count, Klentschy authorized the transfer of more than $1.2 million in NSF grant funds to SDSU between 2001 and 2007, as a sub-award for training teachers.
During that time, Klentschy also authorized the payment of $326,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, intended for a teacher-training project at SDSU. He then allocated $395,000 from the same grant be paid out to G&A Associates — a partnership controlled by Amaral and her husband — for providing an “allegedly independent, external evaluation of the grant project.”
Amaral failed to inform SDSU that she and her husband controlled the company. Garrison also failed to disclose that she was receiving funds through this company.
“It was a purpose and object of this conspiracy, knowingly and intentionally, for the defendants to enrich themselves by unlawfully diverting grant money to their own use and benefit,” the indictment states.