The co-founder of the charter schools network convicted of fraud

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The co-founder of a charter school network that siphoned millions of public funds into their own pockets was sentenced to four years in state prison on Friday.

Jason Schrock, 46, has been indicted along with A3 Education CEO and Chairman Sean McManus and nine others for leading what prosecutors have called “one of the nation’s biggest fraud schemes targeting money from taxpayers intended for primary education “.

Prosecutors say McManus and Schrock ordered their subordinates to open 19 “A3 charter schools” in San Diego County and elsewhere in the state, and raised public funds by claiming the students were enrolled programs run by schools.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said the men paid for student information and used that information to enroll children in summer programs at their online campuses. Prosecutors say some parents were unaware their children were enrolled in a charter school.

The defendants then took action to inflate the amount of money the state paid charter schools by forging documents, which included backdated documents to indicate that students were enrolled in charter schools longer than they did. they were not or by swapping students between different A3 schools to increase funding. per student or per school beyond legal limits, prosecutors said.

Schools earned up to $ 4,000 per student despite failing to provide comprehensive educational services, with defendants transferring millions of those funds to private businesses they owned, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Along with Schrock’s jail term, San Diego Superior Court Judge Frederick Link ordered that he and McManus, 48, pay a combined fine of $ 37.5 million. The prosecutor’s office said fines imposed in connection with the case “will be allocated and exclusively dedicated to programs that directly address the needs of K-12 students in San Diego County.”

Schrock and McManus, who were indicted in a 235-page grand jury indictment in 2019, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy charges. The prosecutor’s office said their nine co-defendants also pleaded guilty. McManus is due to be sentenced on February 22, 2022.

In addition to the fines, $ 14 million in restitution has been ordered for K-12 victims, and the money will be held in trust and administered by the San Diego Foundation. More than $ 90 million in additional damages will go to the state.

“These defendants have engaged in a scheme of systematic public bribery at the expense of students, their parents and the public which over time has embezzled millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets,” the prosecutor said. of District Summer Stephan.

“Our team’s successful prosecution of this case has held the defendants accountable for a widespread embezzlement of public funds that has spread statewide. Now, a large part of these stolen funds will be reinvested in student support. Children are our future and these funds come at an ideal time to help them recover and succeed. “

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