Former Arizona charter school CEO sentenced for fake-student funding scheme

Former Arizona charter school CEO sentenced for fake-student funding scheme
The leader of a now-closed charter school in Arizona was sentenced to four years in prison. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The former CEO of a now-defunct Arizona charter school will spend four years in prison for a scheme that funneled millions of dollars to the school over two academic years.

A judge dealt Daniel K. Hughes his sentence Friday, March 12, after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and theft.

Those charges stemmed from an investigation that found Hughes — alongside Bradley Academy Principal Harold Cadiz and Vice Principal Joanna Vega — reported hundreds of fake students to the state education department between 2016 and 2018, resulting in more than $2 million in overpayments to the charter school, according to a news release from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

After his prison sentence, Hughes will be placed on supervised release for five years and will have to pay restitution to the state.'

According to the release, “Hughes’ accomplices both pleaded guilty and were sentenced in 2020. Cadiz was sentenced to nearly four years in prison, followed by supervised probation for five years. Vega was sentenced to four months of jail and supervised probation for five years.”

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