January 7, 2013

Oregon goes after charter school scam

Comnon Dreams - In the latest incident of charter school fraud, the state of Oregon is going after a pair of charter school con men who reportedly scammed the state out of $17 million.

The Oregonian is reporting that Tim King and Norm Donohoe, who ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools under the guise of a nonprofit named EdChoices, "submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state's money.

... According to a state court filing, brought Thursday by the Oregon Department of Justice in Marion County Circuit Court, the pair is accused of racketeering and money laundering from 2007 to 2010 and is being ordered to repay the $17 million plus an additional $2.7 million for breach of contract and attorney fees.

Reportedly, many of the schools closed abruptly when state regulators began asking questions in spring 2010, leaving students and teachers with nowhere to go. Remaining schools have either since closed or continue to operate under new auspices.

...This summer, a renowned Philadelphia charter school mogul was indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. And between 2005 and 2011, the US Department of Education opened 53 investigations into charter school fraud, resulting in 21 indictments and 17 convictions in states including California, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"You have so few people keeping track of the charter schools," said Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Martha Woodall, whose been mired in an ongoing investigation into Philadelphia's charter schools, regarding the system's lack of oversight.

the losers.

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