A Miami principal was arrested on several charges including three felonies: an organized scheme to defraud and three counts each of official misconduct and grand theft, after authorities discovered he was misusing school funds to pay for his housekeeper.
Joey Bautista, 48, former Miami Jackson Adult Education Center principal was arrested Wednesday when officials say he siphoned around $42,000 in school district money to pay his personal housekeeper.
The former principal reportedly told investigators he had paid his housekeeper, Adeline Joseph, with checks and cash, but only one check for $200 could be located through Bautista’s bank between March 2013 and September 2015, according to a supporting document in the arrest warrant.
Bautista was hired by the school district in 1998 and had been the Principal of the Miami Jackson Adult Education Center since 2011. It is unclear as to when Joseph began working for Bautista. She was placed under the school district’s payroll as a “community-school activity leader” in January 2013.
Sources say that Joseph was not acting in her employment through the school district, but rather was in Bautista’s home; cooking, cleaning, and caring for his two children.
The Miami Herald cited a confidential informant told them of Bautista’s move to have Joseph re-assigned to a Miami Jackson Adult Education Center satellite location in Miami Edison Middle School, to work as a custodian. The informant said the move came after Bautista had heard that another adult education center principal was arrested for hiring a bogus employee.
With the information obtained from the reliable informant, investigators from the State Attorney’s Public Corruption Task Force went through bank and payroll records and interviewed school employees. They found that other custodians and administrators at the education center did not know Joseph, nor had they seen her working at Miami Jackson or any of the satellite locations during the period when she was on the payroll.
Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Bautista was placed on special assignment during the investigation. Once completed, he began the process of dismissing the principal.
Carvalho said in a statement, “We will not tolerate the type of unscrupulous behavior by employees that betrays the trust of our community and belies the core values of the school district.”
Joey Bautista was charged with:
3 counts – third-degree felony – Grand Theft
3 counts – third-degree felony – Official Misconduct
1 count – second-degree felony – Organized Scheme to Defraud