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Founder Of Private Marin School Arrested On Embezzlement Charges

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) -- The Marin County District Attorney's Office has charged the founder of the private K-8 Mount Tamalpais School with embezzling more than $1 million.

Kathleen Marie Mecca, 70, allegedly embezzled the money from the Mill Valley school between June 1, 2008, and Aug. 21, 2015, according to the complaint filed March 30 in Marin County Superior Court.

Mecca, who was living in Vero Beach, Florida, was arrested by the Indian River County Sheriff's Office in Florida on Tuesday on suspicion of being a felony fugitive from justice. She posted $150,000 bond and was released from jail Wednesday morning.

Mecca allegedly diverted $1,054,042 from a Mount Tamalpais School Director's Office account at Westamerica Bank that the school was unaware of and from a Bank of America account the school used for operating expenses, according to an affidavit for a warrant for her arrest.

She allegedly used 93 checks from the school's account for her personal credit cards, and at least $32,240 was spent on purchases in Kona, Hawaii, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Half Moon Bay and at a resort where she was married in 2015, according to the affidavit.

School officials did not discover the embezzlement until Sept. 15, 2015, according to the complaint. Two parents of children who attended the school asked the Marin County District Attorney's Office on June 10, 2016, to investigate Mecca for embezzlement.

The school's Board of Trustees negotiated a civil settlement for restitution, and Mecca paid the school $548,460.

Mecca founded the school in 1976. She served as Head of School until she retired on Aug. 31, 2015.

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