The chief financial officer of the pleaded guilty to ripping off close to $203,000 from the organization, which funds 10 Albany public charter schools.
He is an old hand at embezzlement having pleaded guilty to swindling $202,837 from KeyBank in Albany, where he was employed as a manager in the .
At the time of his January arrest, Ronald Racela was still on probation for the KeyBank conviction. Racela, who earned $120,000 a year, made false payroll entries at the Brighter Choice Foundation that allowed him to get extra payroll checks over a roughly 15-month period.
Brighter Choice officials said they were unaware of Racela's felonious background when they hired him as financial director of Brighter Choice Foundation. The reason was that the agency failed to check. It was only after some 18 months when the state sent written notice of Racela's criminal history to Brighter Choice did they find out. The department denied the school's request to clear Racela for employment. The Education Department conducts criminal background checks on public and charter school employees.
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