Alleged embezzlement at Fresno private school
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley school is struggling to stay open after tens of thousands of dollars disappeared from their bank account. Now, a trusted employee stands accused.
The target was Central Valley Christian Academy, a small Christian school on Dakota and Cedar in Central Fresno. The suspect is Cheryl Roblyer, the school's former office manager.
It's a big hit and the damage is going to take years to repair. The school lost as much as $105,000 and racked up huge bills with the IRS and the state of California -- bills that should've been paid, except the money was going somewhere else.
Central Valley Christian Academy students learn subjects like science and religion, but the subject of accounting is a touchy one.
Cheryl Roblyer was the school's bookkeeper for three years before mysteriously disappearing.
"I said goodbye to Cheryl on Friday and she said 'See you on Monday' and she took a little quilt of mine to repair," said school administrator Timothe Addelsee. "I came in on Monday morning and there was a note on my desk. It said, 'I'm done.'"
Addelsee says the IRS had recently come calling for back taxes, and board members quickly discovered almost $24,000 in checks they believe Roblyer wrote to herself. But they could never reach her, so they handed the case over to police. Action News tracked her down shortly after she was arrested on embezzlement charges.
"We're just trying to figure out if you can tell us what happened to the money from Central Valley Christian Academy," a reporter told Roblyer.
"I'm not interested," she responded.
Police say in an arrest warrant that Roblyer admitted forging the checks. Administrators say she took cash as well, leaving the school in such a bind that parents removed ten of the 27 students.
"Many of them left because they just weren't sure that the school could battle this kind of financial disaster," Addelsee said.
The school's remaining six teachers and 17 students are singing a different song. Teachers accepted 30-40% pay cuts, and parents voted to raise their own tuition, keeping the faith that the school will survive.
"We're working and we're sustaining," Addelsee said. "We're doing this with God's provision."
The school is still raising money to pay its back taxes and other bills -- and trying to recruit new students as well.
Addelsee says she forgives Roblyer, but that she should still face the consequences.
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