Verdict Update: People v. Selivanov and Berkovich

  • Print

October 7, 2013 In April 2013, a Los Angeles County jury rendered verdicts of guilt on a variety of misuse of public funds, embezzlement and tax counts against two former Ivy Academia charter school founders, Eugene Selivanov and Tatyana Berkovich. These charges were in connection to expenditures related to gift cards and meals for school staff, and lease payments by the charter school to an entity controlled by the charter school leaders.

On October 4, the Los Angeles Superior Court sentenced Mr. Selivanov to prison for four years and eight months, and Ms. Berkovich to 45 days in county jail, community service and probation. These sentences were handed down by the court based on the embezzlement and tax counts against the defendants. The sentence for each defendant could have been worse, but the court granted a motion for new trial surrounding the counts related to the misuse of public funds. Unfortunately, while Ms. Berkovich was released from custody, Mr. Selivanov was denied bail and ordered to begin his sentence immediately. We are deeply disappointed with the court decision to deny bail to Mr. Selivanov pending his appeal of the case.

On Sept. 30, CCSA filed an amicus brief in support of the defendants' motion for new trial, alleging error by the court in interpreting the applicability of the criminal provisions to the defendants and based on the facts of the case. CCSA has determined that this case will likely negatively impact the monitoring and oversight of charter schools by authorizers, and infringe on the autonomy and flexibility granted to charter school leaders under California law.

CCSA will continue to be involved in this case as it makes its way through the appellate process, and will explore all legal options to ensure that Mr. Selivanov and Ms. Berkovich serve little to no prison or jail time in connection to these charges and case.

Read the case overview for more information.