California school board member gets jail time for bond campaign theft

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A San Jose, California, school board member convicted of embezzling money from a school bond measure campaign has been sentenced to 60 days in county jail.

John Lindner, 55, a former Franklin-McKinley School District board member pleaded no contest Feb. 20 to charges of grand theft, perjury, and violations of the Political Reform Act.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Arthur Bocanegra sentenced Lindner Tuesday.

“Mr. Lindner betrayed the trust of the students and the schools that he was serving,” said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney John Chase, who prosecuted the case. “Jail time reflects the seriousness of stealing from a fund whose purpose was the improvement of education.”

Lindner's resignation from the school board, and a ban against his running for office for the next four years, were considered by the judge in sentencing, according to the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office.

Lindner spent $28,000 from a pot of money that was supposed to be used as campaign funds for a bond measure, according to the district attorney’s office.

He spent the money on airline tickets, lumber and other personal expenses. He also lent another $12,000 to a relative, but was later paid back.

The campaign fund was for a $50 million bond measure to improve aging schools that voters approved in November 2010.

Lindner was the treasurer in charge of the campaign fund. After the measure passed, he used the remaining funds for personal use.

To conceal his crime, Lindner filed several false campaign disclosure reports, signed under penalty of perjury.

The matter came to light when he filed a final report, terminating the campaign committee by claiming that more than $13,000 had been distributed in amounts less than $100 to “unnamed civic donation recipients."

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Financial crimes School bonds California