Ex-Hopi school superintendent receives 2 years for embezzlement

PHOENIX (AP) — A former superintendent who embezzled nearly $1 million from a Hopi school is going to prison.

A federal judge sentenced 45-year-old Thane Epefanio in Phoenix this week to two years as part of a guilty plea to money laundering and wire fraud.

The Avondale man was the superintendent and administrator of the Hopi Mission School on the Hopi reservation in Kykotsmovi.

According to prosecutors, Epefanio used his position to embezzle school funds beginning in 2012. He manipulated the staff to provide him money but made it look like the funds were being used for school operations.

They say Epefanio was siphoning money for a gambling habit and personal expenses.

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