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Founders of Epic Charter Schools arrested for embezzling state money

Epic Charter Schools founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, and Epic CFO Josh Brock

Two Epic Charter School founders and its former Chief Financial Officer were arrested Thursday morning and face several felony charges related to embezzlement and racketeering.

Founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, along with CFO Josh Brock, face a slew of charges: racketeering, embezzlement of state funds, obtaining money by false pretense, conspiracy to commit a felony, violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act, submitting false documents to the state and unlawful proceeds.

In a press release, OSBI Director Ricky Adams says the trio came up with a ‘get rich quick scheme’ that involved co-mingling funds, charging excessive management fees, using Oklahoma tax dollars in California, concealing profits, submitting false invoices and illegally using employees. Overall, OSBI says the ploy cost the state around $22 million.

The arrests come after the State Department of Education issued a 75-page report earlier this week, which cited Epic for significantly miscounting attendance and improperly using state funds to give bonuses to administrators.

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Beth reports on energy and environmental topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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