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Mistrial Declared in Fraud Case Against Former L.A. School Official

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A federal judge declared a mistrial last week in the case of a former Los Angeles district administrator accused of profiting by making the school system buy $4 million worth of algebra textbooks he wrote.

After deliberating for two weeks, a federal jury deadlocked Feb. 25 by 11-1 in favor of acquitting Matthias Vheru, a former interim director of mathematics for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He faced 11 counts of fraud.

Prosecutors said Mr. Vheru earned nearly $1 million in royalties and fees from a 2004 deal he made with a publishing company, violating conflict-of-interest laws, and then tried to cover his tracks by calling the textbooks "supplementary materials."

Mr. Vheru maintains that he told the district he had ordered his own book with federal No Child Left Behind Act funds, but that he and his supervisor had never been trained in what the money could and could not be used to purchase.

Vol. 28, Issue 23, Page 5

Published in Print: March 4, 2009, as Mistrial Declared in Fraud Case Against Former L.A. School Official
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