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Former superintendent could avoid prison
August 02, 2012, 05:00 AM Bay City News Service

Former Portola Valley School District Superintendent Timothy Hanretty could face four years in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 in district funds to remodel his home.

Hanretty on Tuesday pleaded no contest to five counts of felony embezzlement, and one additional count of misappropriation of public funds in connection with a fraudulent loan he obtained while employed as chief business officer for the Woodside School District, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum said he would consider sentencing Hanretty to probation in lieu of a prison sentence if the defendant can pay back the money he owes to both school districts by his sentencing hearing on Oct. 11, Wagstaffe said.

The amount of money Hanretty is required to repay will be "the topic of discussion” at the defendant’s restitution hearing, also scheduled for Oct. 11, Wagstaffe said.

Hanretty paid for remodeling his home with money from a special fund established by the district to pay for solar panel installations at various schools, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Hanretty submitted false invoices totaling $100,926 for construction work that was never performed.

While employed by the Woodside School District, Hanretty was placed in charge of securing a loan not to exceed $632,000 to improve an athletic field.

Hanretty presented fraudulent paperwork to lenders without the knowledge of the board and obtained a loan of $2.6 million, Wagstaffe said.

The work on the athletic field was completed, and Hanretty was given a $5,000 bonus for facilitating the project.

The fraud was discovered in November 2011 when the school district conducted an investigation to determine why its debt was so high.

The false invoices, a loan in excess of $2 million, associated interest payments, and the performance bonus could all factor into the total amount that Hanretty will be required to pay to the two districts he admitted to defrauding, Wagstaffe said.

Hanretty’s defense attorney, Michael Markowitz, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The defendant remains out of custody on $90,000 bail.

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