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Former Newport Beach high school employee accused of stealing student body funds

June 26, 2010 |  8:14 am

A former Newport-Mesa Unified School District employee is free on bail and could face charges of grand theft for allegedly stealing $11,000 worth of cash and checks from Newport Harbor High School's student association, police said Friday.

Juan Medinaperalta, 26, of Orange, was arrested Tuesday following a month-long investigation by police into funds that never ended up at the district offices as they were supposed to.

In May, school officials handed Medinaperalta a bag with $7,179.45 in cash and more than $4,500 in checks, said Sgt. Steve Burdette.

The money belonged to the high school's student body association and was headed for the district office but never made it. The district investigated to see if the money had been misplaced and eventually turned to police for help.

Officers interviewed district and school officials and determined Medinaperalta was the last person to be in possession of the money.

Medinaperalta was arrested Tuesday and booked on suspicion of grand theft. He posted $20,000 bail and was released. He has yet to be charged, according to the Daily Pilot.

The school district has not recovered the money. Medinaperalta left Newport-Mesa's employment two to three weeks ago, district officials said.

Medinaperalta was a member of the district's warehouse crew who also act as couriers as needed.

-- Joseph Serna reporting for the Daily Pilot