Former Kirov Ballet Academy accountant pleads guilty to embezzling $1.5 million

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A former accountant at the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington, DC has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1.5 million from the historic school.

Sophia Kim, who worked at the school for nearly 20 years, reportedly admitted in a plea agreement that she used the funds to pay off credit card debts and to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Kim will be sentenced in December and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to the Washington Post. Prosecutors said Kim will be required to pay exactly $1,502,016.21 in restitution, according to court papers.

The Kirov Academywhich teaches dance, music, and language and has produced stars such as Natalia Makarova and George Balanchinewas forced to lay off staff and cancel performances as a result of the embezzlement.

These are very, very difficult financial times for the Kirov, the schools executive director, Vladimir Tereshchenko, said last year.