PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today that a State Grand Jury indicted Celestia Ziemkowski, following an investigation performed by the Office of the Auditor General ("OAG"). Ziemkowski, the former business manager for Valley Academy for Career and Technical Education (VACTE), was indicted on charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices, violation of duties of a custodian of public monies, fraudulent schemes and practices, theft, forgery, and computer tampering for allegedly using her position to steal approximately $30,500 of VACTE funds.
It is alleged that between June 9, 2015, and February 11, 2016, Ziemkowski made $10,746 in fraudulent charges on the VACTE charge card and presented forged statements to conceal the charges. The indictment also accuses Ziemkowski of issuing five unauthorized checks totaling $19,851 for personal purposes between July of 2015 and December of 2015. The indictment further alleges that she presented the VACTE Board with fraudulent vouchers to secure the approval of the checks and modified the accounting software to conceal the true payees. Ziemkowski resigned in May 2016 after a VACTE employee questioned her about certain credit card purchases. VACTE reported fraud allegations to the OAG.
VACTE is a tuition-free public career and technical high school district in Yavapai County that provides training in areas such as fire service, nursing assistant, and welding to high school students and homeschooled students. VACTE is one of fourteen Career and Technical Education Districts (CTEDs) in Arizona.
All Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Harriss is prosecuting the case.