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COD investigated for $5 million overpayments

College Of The Desert president promises transparancy and appropriate steps

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Based on audited attendance data, there is evidence of financial fraud and mismanagement dating back seven years at College of the Desert.

According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, COD wrongfully received more than $5 million dollars from the state between the 2003-04 and 2009-10 school years by misreporting the number of full-time students attending the college.

The audit comes shortly after Dr. Joel Kinnamon was named COD president back in July.

In a news release, Kinnamon says he is deeply concerned and is "committed to being transparent and proactive."

Dr. Kinnamon stated, "As College of the Desert president, I understand the seriousness of these findings and have already taken prompt and immediate action in response."

According to the Chancellor's Office, in its report dated November 28, 2012,  the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team determined that:

  • The District concealed this Full Time Equivalent Student reporting error to the Chancellor's Office for a seven-year period, signing and certifying annual apportionment attendance report forms as true and accurate.
  • Based on the documentation reviewed, "there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that financial statement fraud and mismanagement may have occurred."

The Chancellor's Office will turn the case over to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and state controller.

"I want to assure the public that we are taking appropriate steps to address the issues which have been highlighted by the report and are committed to doing whatever is necessary to preserve the public trust," stated Kinnamon.

The COD president was not available to talk Thursday. Stay with us as we continue digging deeper into this story and try to understand what it all means for the college and its students.

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