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School Official Resigns Over CdM Hacking Case

A Newport-Mesa Unified School District administrator resigned this week after saying how NMUSD handled the students involved in a computer-hacking cheating scandal at Corona del Mar High School was a “total farce.”

Jane Garland left her position as director of student and community services Wednesday after an email she had sent to district officials and board of education members disagreeing with how officials dealt with the students went public.

In the email, Garland states that the students were not treated with dignity, that they were not all equally involved – but that there are many more implicated, and that the punishments were too harsh. She also claims her concerns were ignored by officials.

On Jan. 28, after hours of deliberation and two closed session meetings, the board voted to expel 11 students. The students were required to leave CdM campus, but were allowed to transfer to another school within the district.

The Newport Beach Police Department is still searching for Timothy Lance Lai, 28, an Irvine tutor is wanted for questioning in connection with the case.


Local Attorney Convicted of Embezzling Over $780K

A Newport Beach attorney was convicted this week of embezzling over $780,00 from nine victims, according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Peter David Nitschke, 47, pleaded guilty to a court offer to six felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of elder financial abuse, and one felony count of issuing a check with non-sufficient funds, with white collar crime sentencing enhancements, the OCDA statement explained. He is expected to be sentenced to up to 12 years in state prison at his sentencing April 4.

The majority of the money he stole was $720,000 from his client trust account from two elderly sisters after offering to assist them with their finances.

After becoming suspicious of the defendant’s handling of the accounts, the sisters called the Irvine Police Department in May 2012. Nitschke was arrested in September 2012 and charged by the OC District Attorney. The OCDA publicized the case and, as a result of the media coverage, additional victims came forward.

Deputy District Attorney Sean O’Brien of the White Collar Crime Team is prosecuting the case.


OCMA Art Auction

More than 60 museum-quality works of art will be on the auction block at the OC Museum of Art’s 2014 Art Auction on March 14. Many of the participating artists have played an active role in the museum’s history, and either made works in OCMA’s collection, have exhibited at the museum, or both.

Donations by artists and galleries to this event represent an extraordinary show of support for the museum and its mission. Proceeds benefit the museum’s exhibition and education programs.

Art Auction 2014 tickets are $125 for OCMA members and $150 for non-members; and are available at or by calling (949) 759-1122 ext 241.

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