BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — An administrator at the University of California, Berkeley who was convicted for embezzling money from a previous employer was fired from her job at the school for allegedly stealing $90,000 from the university.

Sonia Chiante Waters handled millions of dollars in grants and donations at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. It was a job she got after she was fired for stealing company funds at a previous job in San Francisco.

The university said it did not do a criminal background check on Waters.

“In this case, she progressed in her position to a level that would have required it. But it unfortunately fell through the cracks,” said UC Berkeley spokesperson Claire Holmes.

Waters’ attorney told that she admitted stealing money by forging a dean’s signature on university checks. The money was allegedly used to pay tuition at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, a private French school, for her two sons. Tuition is about $25,000 a year for each child.

“We’re very disappointed this happened,” Holmes said. “Obviously we need to look very carefully at our processes to make sure this doesn’t occur again.”

The university is investigating other employees who may also have slipped through without a background check.

Waters is charged with nine felony counts of grand theft and embezzlement. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison.


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