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Local charter school fraud:

Following the money


More than $1 million is missing from Ezequiel Tafoya Alvarado Charter School, and a charge of fraud against former executive director Nicolas Retana is on everyone’s lips.


The red flag of illegal activity has been raised by an official state agency, the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT).


FCMAT was created by Assembly Bill (AB) 1200 in 1991 to assist schools with financial difficulties. Its services are open to all public schools and districts who request assistance. In September 2021, the Madera County Superintendent of Schools, Cecilia Massetti, and Madera Unified Superintendent, Todd Lile, concluded they had a financial problem at ETAA Charter School. They called on FCMAT to determine whether the former executive director of the school (Nicolas Retana) had committed fraud or other illegal activities.

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