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Los Angeles charter school founders convicted of embezzlement


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On Friday a jury convicted the founders of the Ivy Academia charter school in the San Fernando of embezzling public funds and filing filing false tax returns.

Eugene Selivanov and his wife Tatyana Berkovich founded Ivy Academia in 2004 as a state funded charter school. An audit three years later found the couple had not kept public money separate from its for-profit companies. 

During a three-week trial, prosecutors alleged the couple used $200,000 in public funds to buy groceries, clothes and other personal items -- and to fund a separate private school.

The defense argued that the couple made mistakes based on their inexperience in running a charter.
The jury wasn’t convinced. It found Selivanov guilty of 25 felony charges and Berkovich of three felonies. Sentencing is set for July.

Selivanov faces 19 years in prison, and his wife seven and a half years.

Ivy Academia is still open. It serves 1,100 students at three locations in the San Fernando Valley. Selianov and Berkovich resigned from the school in 2011 after criminal charges were filed.