RIVERSIDE – District Attorney Mike Hestrin and Corona-Norco Unified School District Superintendent Michael Lin announced today, Nov. 7, 2019, that a former Corona-Norco Unified School District assistant superintendent of facilities along with the chief executive officer of a construction company have been charged by the District Attorney’s Office in a scheme in which they embezzled more than $1 million of public funds from the school district.
Ted Eugene Rozzi, DOB: 10-7-1959, of Redlands; and Edward Curtis Mierau, DOB: 5-26-54, of Ladera Ranch, are charged with theft of public funds, money laundering, conflict of interest, and aggravated white-collar crime. Rozzi surrendered today, Nov. 7, 2019, at Riverside Superior Court and was given a conditional own-recognizance release which includes the judge ordering him to surrender his passport, which has been done, and not to leave the country. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 20, 2019, at the Hall of Justice in Riverside. Mierau is making arrangements to surrender.
As part of the criminal filings in this case, the DA’s Office has frozen real estate assets of both defendants in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and San Diego counties.
From 1992 to 2017, as an assistant superintendent of facilities, Rozzi supervised all aspects of construction for upgrading and building of structures for the Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD). Mierau was the chief executive officer of Neff Construction, which specializes in school construction.
In May 2017, another CNUSD employee discovered something she believed was suspicious regarding a transaction between Rozzi and Neff Construction. She contacted district officials and an investigation was started by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
During that investigation, search warrants were served and it was determined that there were multiple transactions between Rozzi and Mierau in which Rozzi asked for checks to be written from Neff Construction to various financial institutions – not the school district -- but billed the expenses to various school construction projects. Investigators identified transactions totaling more than $1.1 million between December 2011 and May 2017. Search warrants revealed that the money - intended for the construction of school projects - was funneled through Neff Construction and ended up in Rozzi’s personal banking and credit card accounts.
“We are angry and very disappointed that an executive level administrator in our district would abuse his position of trust to manipulate our facilities accounts for his own financial gain,” said CNUSD Superintendent Michael Lin.
Throughout this confidential investigation, the Corona-Norco Unified School District has cooperated fully with our office and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. We thank the CNUSD for its assistance and patience during this lengthy investigation. To view the Corona-Norco Unified School District's full media statement please go to:
The case, RIF1904591, is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Emily Hanks and David Allen of the DA’s Public Integrity Team.