San Pedro Investigations: James Cross and the Port of Los Angeles High School

Professionals in education aren't known for their lavish lifestyles. While it is certainly possible for teachers and administrative staff to earn a comfortable living, especially after many years at their jobs, even school principals and executive leaders aren't compensated anywhere near the level that they would be if they held the same position at a law firm or bank.

Which is what makes the case of James Cross, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles High School, even more suspicious.

James Cross has been the director of POLA High School since the school's founding in 2005. Recently, school officials noticed some suspicious activity showing up on Cross' school-issued credit card, which he was issued to make business purchases on behalf of the school. It looks as though Cross was buying much more than just pencils and books.

 The San Pedro Asset Search of James Cross

According to the Daily Breeze, school officials and parents at POLA became suspicious when they observed some questionable tactics being used during the school's bidding process to purchase supplies and equipment. After observing these red flags, the school decided to conduct a full audit of Cross' activity using the school-issued credit card.

The results of the audit look like something you would expect to see on the personal credit card of a Fortune 500 CEO, not a private school director. Just a few of the charges allegedly racked up by Cross on his school credit cards over the years include :

  • Lavish vacations, including a trip to Sweden and a Royal Caribbean Cruise
  • Over $900 in movie tickets to AMC theaters
  • Purchases at clothing retailers like Banana Republic
  • Thousands of dollars worth of meals at restaurants: according to school officials, between 2010 and 2011 alone, Cross spent over $10,000 at restaurants in and around San Pedro

To be fair, the report seems to indicate that the school did have a policy in place that would allow Cross to make purchases on the school credit card and then reimburse the money later. It appears that some of these purchases were reimbursed, but school officials haven't yet sorted out exactly which ones were and which ones were not.

This isn't the first time Cross has drawn the ire of the school community. This past fall, Cross was placed on "light duty" away from the school as a result of complaints from officials and parents at a school board meeting. He is now on paid leave, and the results of the investigation are set to be presented to a meeting of the school's trustees in early March.

Worried About Someone's Assets or Financial Matters? Hire a Private Eye for San Pedro Investigations

Although he hasn't yet been proven guilty, the alleged misdeeds in Cross' case are an example of the types of things that happen all the time in organizations like schools, corporations, and local governments. If you suspect that an employee, family member, or business partner has been committing fraud or other financial crimes, hiring a private investigator in Los Angeles is a great way to get the truth. A good PI can tell you:

  • What type of assets a person really has in their name, by running a detailed asset search
  • Whether or not they have a criminal history involving financial crimes, by conducting a criminal background check
  • Whether they are living outside of their means with lots of extravagant purchases, through surveillance service

No matter what reason you may have for suspecting someone of financial misgivings, it's important to get to the bottom of it. A quality investigator in Los Angeles can help you get the answers you need so that you can put an end to financial crimes as soon as possible.

Published on: 
March 3, 2015
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