Indianapolis, Indiana – Three individuals have been hit with federal charges following an indictment by a grand jury. The charges include money laundering, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The case revolves around the now-defunct Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in the practice of inflating enrollment numbers to secure additional funds from the state, even for students who never attended classes. They are now facing a total of 76 counts of money laundering and wire fraud.
Investigations into the matter revealed that former school leaders misappropriated the funds intended for the schools’ benefit. Instead, these funds were diverted towards the purchase of luxury items such as cars, jewelry, and private school tuition.
Representative Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, emphasized the significant financial impact of these actions on the state of Indiana. He noted that Indiana had paid at least $85 million more than it should have to the schools due to the fraudulent enrollment numbers. Furthermore, he highlighted a disturbing revelation from the indictment, stating, “The most intriguing allegation is, they kept a record of the actual student attendance and only paid the teachers per the students that actually attended, but they charged the state for people who didn’t attend.”
Court documents revealed that some of the misappropriated funds were funneled into for-profit companies operated by one of the defendants. Subsequently, a significant portion of these funds was directed towards the defendant’s family members and other co-conspirators.
Representative DeLaney called for increased oversight of charter schools, citing the need for more robust education policies to prevent abuse. He stressed the importance of passing legislation to safeguard public finances and preserve the integrity of the educational system. DeLaney expressed concern over the state’s reliance on charter schools with external contractors that lack close supervision and public accountability, highlighting the potential risks and negative impact on taxpayers.