Three Men Accused of Defrauding Oklahoma Out of Millions in Epic Charter Schools Scheme

Three men accused of defrauding Oklahoma's public school funds through Epic Charter Schools scheme. Preliminary hearings reveal alleged misuse of $79.3M, highlighting need for oversight in education spending.

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Nitish Verma
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Three Men Accused of Defrauding Oklahoma Out of Millions in Epic Charter Schools Scheme

Three Men Accused of Defrauding Oklahoma Out of Millions in Epic Charter Schools Scheme

Three men, David Lee Chaney, Benjamin Scott Harris, and Joshua Brock, are facing criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the state of Oklahoma out of millions of dollars in public school funds through the Epic Charter Schools scheme. The accusations came to light during preliminary hearings in March 2024, based on an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and an audit report by the State Auditor and Inspector's office.

The men are accused of setting up a for-profit management company, Epic Youth Services (EYS), to handle the school's affairs and control a Student Learning Fund through which $79.3 million in public funds flowed. The investigation found that EYS had no employees and was controlled entirely by the three men, with the objective of minimizing costs and maximizing profit.

Why this matters: The Epic Charter Schools case highlights the potential for fraud and misuse of public funds in the education system. It emphasizes the significance of oversight and accountability measures to ensure that taxpayer money intended for student education is used appropriately and not diverted for personal gain.

Brock, the former chief financial officer, has agreed to plead guilty and testify against the other two defendants. If convicted, the men face criminal charges and potentially millions in restitution. The case is based on a comprehensive investigation that uncovered the alleged scheme prioritizing profit over education.

The preliminary hearings in March 2024 indicate a notable progression in the legal proceedings against Chaney, Harris, and Brock. As the case unfolds, it will shed light on the extent of the alleged fraud and the measures needed to prevent similar incidents in the future. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for the oversight and regulation of charter schools and the use of public funds in education.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 men accused of defrauding Oklahoma of millions in public school funds via Epic Charter Schools
  • Alleged for-profit management company EYS controlled $79.3M in public funds with no employees
  • Brock agrees to plead guilty, testify against Chaney and Harris, who face criminal charges
  • Preliminary hearings in March 2024 indicate legal proceedings against the accused
  • Case highlights need for oversight and accountability in use of public education funds