.Former Cabrillo Administrator Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Paul De La Cerda committed the crime while dean at East Los Angeles College

A man who was fired last year from his administrative job at Cabrillo College after his previous employer–also a community college–accused him of embezzlement has pled guilty to one of the charges and will avoid jail time.

Paul De La Cerda, 49, was charged with overbilling roughly $1,575 to East Los Angeles College–where he served as a dean–for trips he took between March 2017 and 2019. He was also accused of forging documents he submitted for reimbursement.

De La Cerda was put on administrative leave by the board after he was charged with embezzlement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney. Hired by Cabrillo in June 2021, his employment officially ends June 30.

In a prepared statement, De La Cerda’s attorney David Diamond said that the plea includes two years of probation. The remaining charges will be dismissed.

“It could have taken us the same two years to get to trial, and as such, this avoids the costly burden of a trial and stress on his family with the same result,” Diamond stated. 

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He added that De La Cerda submitted receipts for reimbursement, sometimes under-reporting his out-of-pocket expenses. The person responsible for ensuring the numbers were correct, Diamond says, was put on leave. 

“Any inadvertent overpayment for reimbursement will be returned to East LA College,” he said. 

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