Houston Gateway Academy superintendent and IT employee charged with embezzlement

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Parents waiting to pick their kids up from school Friday afternoon were disturbed.

"It leaves me shocked. I can't imagine that coming from these schools," Maria Beltran said.

On April 2, Superintendent Richard Garza and another employee were indicted on federal charges for embezzling and stealing more than $252,000 from the school.

Garza, listed on the school's website for having more than 30 years in financial management, used the money to purchase a new condo worth over $86,000, a Nissan Armada SUV for over $50,000 and to make payments on a home loan, according to the court documents.

Dondra Douglas has two children enrolled in the academy and couldn't believe the news.

"I kind of feel a little unsafe and it would make me want to take them out of the school. It's a good school but when you think of something like that and they're over you, and they're at such a high level you think you should be able to trust them," Douglas said

In 2014, Garza reportedly awarded a fake contract to HGA IT employee Ahmad Bokaiyan under his company Hot Rod Systems. Garza reportedly paid for installations of IT equipment on a new HGA Academy, that according to the charges, had not been constructed.

Bokaiyan would then allegedly wire money back to Garza's personal accounts.

Mom Maria Beltran says the news is difficult to hear.

"I like the school and it just feels bad to hear that," Beltran said.

ABC13 reached out to the school who gave us the number of their attorney. We attempted to call him but have not heard back.
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