Charter schools charged with stealing $50M from California

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A network of charter schools in California is accused of stealing more than $50 million from the state by creating phantom institutions that enrolled unwitting students it found through youth program rosters.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said Wednesday that A3 Education recruited small school districts with limited oversight capacity to sponsor the charter schools in exchange for fees.

Prosecutors say the company enrolled about 40,000 students. None of them received educational services and were likely unaware of the scheme.

The company that operated a network of 19 online schools is accused of paying sports leagues as little as $25 a student for information used for enrollment.

Prosecutors identified 46-year-old Sean McManus and 44-year-old Jason Schrock as ringleaders, and they didn’t immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

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