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Monder Law, Delivering the Best Results! Ex-School Staffer Gets Little Jail Time in $149K Theft.
VISTA — A former Carlsbad school district employee who rented out school facilities but secretly pocketed the money — nearly $149,000 — was sentenced Monday to six weekends in jail and three years of formal probation.
Daniel Czypinski, 36, pleaded guilty last month in Vista Superior Court to four felony charges of grand theft from the Carlsbad Unified School District. He had initially faced 22 counts of grand theft and allegations of white-collar crime.
It’s rare for embezzlement victims to recover all of their losses, but Czypinski repaid the stolen money with help from his family. That helped him avoid prison, and his sentence of weekends and probation was part of his plea deal.
Authorities said Czypinski ran a rental-fee scheme that diverted money from the district into his own pocket. In his job as the technical director for the Cultural Arts Center, which is Carlsbad High School’s theater, Czypinksi was responsible for renting the venue to outside users, including churches and pageants.
In 2012 and 2013, Czypinski directed unsuspecting rental clients to make their checks payable to Encore Arts, instead of the school district. Encore Arts was Czypinski’s company.
The alleged thefts were uncovered shortly after Czypinski resigned from the district in January 2014.
Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn said that Czypinski “fooled a lot of people,” and said students saw him as a role model who put in extra hours for their benefit.
“My hope is that they (students) also learn something from the end of this story: Mr. Czypinski had to pay back all of the money he took and he is still going to jail,” she said. “He is accepting responsibility for his crimes and has said that he feels horrible about what he did.”
Last month, Czypinski’s attorney, Vik Monder, said his client — who had a clean record — had been working as an art director and handling other duties related to running the theater, and “the line got blurred for him.”
He also said Czypinski was going through difficulties at the time, including a divorce and child custody fight.