By Lucia Meza
A high-ranking administrator at Cabrillo College has been charged with embezzlement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Paul De La Cerda, the current Vice President of Instruction at Cabrillo, faces one felony count of misappropriation of government funds, and another felony count of embezzlement of government funds stemming from his time as dean of East Los Angeles College (ELAC).
Los Angeles County DA George Gascón said in a press release that De La Cerda, 47, overbilled ELAC roughly $1,575 between March 2017 and 2019. He is accused of forging documents he submitted for reimbursement.
De La Cerda is expected to be arraigned on Jan. 7.
“My office will continue to strive to root out public corruption in order to make government clean,” Gascón said in the release.
De La Cerda was hired by Cabrillo College in June of 2021.
He has not responded to two separate requests for comment.
Cabrillo spokeswoman Kristin Fabos said that De La Cerda was still employed by the local community college but declined to comment further, citing personnel laws.
De La Cerda, according to multiple media reports, was dismissed from ELAC in March 2021 by Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) officials.
When asked about De La Cerda, a spokesperson for LACCD said they could only confirm that De La Cerda was a former employee of ELAC.
Cabrillo President Matt Wetstein said in a late October interview that De La Cerda resigned from the LACCD in June to join Cabrillo. He declined to comment further but said that the circumstances of De La Cerda’s departure from ELAC were known to him and Cabrillo’s board of trustees.
“We made a decision to hire Dr. Paul De La Cerda that followed our normal hiring process for Vice-President-level positions, and that included input from a broad representation of our College community,” he said.
He added: “We are pleased to have him as a member of the Cabrillo family.”
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, in the Fraud and Cyber crimes division.