Tuesday, November 21

UCLA executive arrested


Director at School of Medicine had criminal history, went under aliases

Freddrick Mark Brito, who recently held a position raising funds
for the David Geffen School of Medicine, has had a history of
working under aliases to hide his criminal history and was arrested
after holding his position at UCLA for several months.

According to university police, Brito was arrested by university
police on April 8 for violating his parole by not reporting a
previous felony. Brito is no longer employed by the university.

Brito, who went by the name Federiqkoe DiBritto at UCLA, was
hired last October as the executive director of development and
patient relations for the division of digestive diseases at the
medical school.

“We certainly feel upset and betrayed by anyone who might
take a position with the university under false pretenses,”
said university spokesman Lawrence Lokman.

Brito was hired by UCLA’s external affairs division, the
university’s fund-raising and public relations branch.
External affairs did not search for Brito, but relied on an outside
firm, Askanas Human Resource Consulting, to check his references
and obtain letters of reference.

Leslie Askanas, the president of the consulting firm, declined
to comment.

Even though he was in charge of fund-raising during his time at
UCLA, Brito had no access to the department’s finances, and
there is no evidence of financial mismanagement, Lokman said.

But Brito’s position allowed him access to donor records,
which include donation history, addresses and contact information
for various donors to the digestive diseases division.

The university has not received any related complaints from
donors, Lokman said.

As a result of Brito’s arrest, the university is deciding
how to change its hiring practices and will implement changes with
recommendations from campus human resources, Lokman said.

Currently, university policy only requires criminal background
checks for positions that generally have to deal with campus safety
and does not mandate checks for development officers. Human
resources will suggest which other positions should require
criminal background checks, Lokman said.

Brito has appeared in the Daily Bruin several times under the
name “Federiqkoe DiBritto,” and was featured
prominently in a Nov. 15, 2004 Daily Bruin article. The facts in
those articles have yet to be verified.

He may have recently used the alias “Federiqkoe
DiBritto,” which he used while at UCLA, to seek a seat on the
Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council in northeast Los Angeles.
Someone by that name was running for the elections, which are set
to take place June 26, but has withdrawn his candidacy, said Jerry
Kvasnicka, the independent election coordinator for various
neighborhood councils.

Reached by phone, Brito declined to comment on his use of the
alias “Federiqkoe DiBritto” at UCLA. But Brito
confirmed that he was running for a spot on the neighborhood
council and dropped out of the election.

According to court records, Brito pleaded guilty to a felony
embezzlement charge in July 2002 and was sentenced to 16 months in
prison. In 1991, he was charged with felony grand theft and forgery
and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Brito’s history of working high-level positions spans
almost 20 years, and he has pretended to be a psychiatrist, a
priest and the head of a nonprofit organization.

He was first hired as a psychiatrist in 1987 to work with a Los
Angeles County public defender, according to a Chicago Tribune
article.

For a short time, he posed as a priest in Arizona at parishes in
Tucson and Phoenix. It was when he was posing as a priest that
Brito was arrested for the felony charges and extradited back to
California.

Using the name Freddrick Esparza, Brito presided over various
church sacraments, including funerals, baptisms and Mass, during
his short stint as a priest. But some sacraments were invalid
because he was not a real priest, according to an Arizona Republic
article.

“It’s tragic because people oftentimes place their
trust in clergy and this time it was misplaced trust,” said
David Sanfilippo, vicar general of the diocese of Phoenix, in a
telephone interview.

After his release from prison for the embezzlement charge, Brito
was hired as the executive director for the National Kidney
Foundation of Southern California. While on parole, Brito worked
for a short time from late September to early December in 2003.

Brito was fired from his executive director position and was
escorted out of the building by security guards on Dec. 1, 2003,
said an employee who requested anonymity out of fear of
retribution.

The employee said that Brito appeared to not know how to do some
of the things that an executive director should know, such as
reading expense reports.

Though Brito had no access to the foundation’s finances,
the employee said Brito did damage to the foundation in other ways.
The employee said that Brito verbally abused staff, volunteers and
donors.

“Once we explained who he really was, then they were fine,
but in the meantime they didn’t understand why they were
being treated in such a horrible way,” the employee said.

Lokman said he did not hear any reports of Brito verbally
abusing coworkers during his time at UCLA.

Despite being interviewed by the kidney organization’s
board of directors and a background check, the organization hired
him out of several candidates.

“Our national office ran him through an agency to verify
his credentials and all his credentials were verified because all
of the people (on his resume) were con people,” the employee
said.

“Everybody on there was set up to make him look
good.”

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