A federal grand jury has indicted a Rancho Santiago Community College District official for allegedly operating a scam that stole federal funds designed to aid students who were migratory or seasonal farm workers, OC Weekly has learned.
Authorities today arrested Anna Catalan, who now faces a six-count fraud indictment in U.S. District Judge James V. Selna's Santa Ana court.
According to the indictment, Catalan misused her position as the college district's director over the administration of the College Assistance Migrant Program, a federal-funded project designed by the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2007, the college district won a related federal grant for $425,000 per year for five years.
Assistant United States Attorney Brett A. Sagel, who is prosecuting Catalan, said in the indictment that the defendant began stealing stipend money intended for the students in mid-2008.
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The grand jury saw evidence that Catalan, who was born in 1978 and lived in Irvine, signed over approximately $90,000 in federal checks to herself or family members.
She is free from custody on $25,000 bail.
If convicted, each of the six fraud charges brings a 20-year maximum prison sentence.