By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A well-known Philadelphia charter school founder and four other people have been charged in a scheme to defraud the federal government of millions of dollars over a four-year period.
Dorothy June Brown, the founder of three charter schools in the Philadelphia area, is named along with four school executives in a 62-count federal indictment alleging they defrauded the government of funds meant for the charter schools between 2007 and April 2011.
“The fraud scheme resulted in a loss of about $6.5 million in terms of funds that were to be utilized to educate the students,” says US attorney Zane Memeger, “but rather Brown decided to use that money to line her own pocket for her own personal benefit.”
Memeger says Brown used a management company to take funds meant for the Agora Cyber Charter School, the Planet Abacus Charter School, and the Laboratory Charter School of Communications and Languages, all of which she started.
He says Brown and the four executives — including Michael Slade, her great-nephew — attempted to cover up the fraud when the government was tipped about irregularities and began an investigation four years ago.
Memeger says students were educated through the schools during the period, but money meant for the schools never reached the intended recipients.