By Jose Herrera & Caleb Lunetta
Bill Bolde, former Saugus High School principal, was arrested and booked Saturday morning on suspicion of felonious embezzlement and perjury.
According to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Sgt. Jameson, Bolde, 65, turned himself in at approximately 7 a.m. to deputies. He was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, government code 1090A, and perjury, penal code 118A. The arrest is related to a Chinese student exchange program and it’s an ongoing investigation, according to a Sheriff’s Department source.
“Bolde helped set up a student exchange program with a high school in Gaoxin, China, as well as creating a nonprofit organization to administer the program,” read a statement from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. “He is charged with having a conflict of interest because he was still principal at Saugus High School while he had an employment agreement with the nonprofit. Bolde also is charged with lying on disclosure forms.”
Bolde’s attorney David D. Diamond issued a statement Sunday disputing the allegations:
“Bill was never interviewed by law enforcement, although he was more than willing to do so,” said Diamond in the statement. “This is all connected to a frivolous lawsuit filed by others in an attempt to cover up their own wrongdoing. My client has served the Santa Clarita community with distinction, and he would never do anything to discredit his integrity, his family or his relationship with God.”
Diamond is also the attorney representing former Saugus Union School District board President Paul De La Cerda, who was charged last week on suspicion of fraud. According to a news release from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, De La Cerda is accused of overbilling his employer for trips he took.
Bolde was charged with one felony count each of perjury and conflict of interest and an arrest warrant was issued by Superior Court of Los Angeles Judge Armenui Ashvanian on Dec. 9. He is expected to be arraigned on Jan. 12 in Department 3 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
“Those who break the law by putting their own best interest before the people they are supposed to serve will be held accountable for their actions,” District Attorney George Gascón said in his office’s statement about the charges.
Bolde was the principal at Saugus High for 14 years and served other positions at schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District. He is the current executive director of career services and advancement at The Master’s University.
“The district was made aware that the Los Angeles Public Integrity Unit was investigating allegations of misconduct regarding former Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde,” read a statement from Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the Hart district.
The Hart district cooperated fully with law enforcement, and appreciates law enforcement’s efforts in this matter, Caldwell added. The district had no additional comment as of the publication of this story.
Bolde was booked in lieu of $45,000 bail. However, at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday Bolde was released on bond, confirmed Sgt. Jameson.