Ex-Arizona charter school principal sentenced in fraud case

PHOENIX (AP) — The former principal of a Goodyear charter school has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution in a fraud case.

State prosecutors said Harold Cadiz was sentenced for his role in enrolling fake students to obtain funding from the Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cadiz worked at the now-closed Bradley Academy of Excellence, a K-8 charter school.

Prosecutors said Cadiz reported hundreds of fake student profiles to the state education department to fraudulently get additional funding for the financially failing school.

The fake students were enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s school lunch program during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

After the school abruptly closed its doors in December 2017, it was discovered Bradley Academy included 191 fake students in its reported enrollment of 652 in the 2016-17 school year and 453 fake students in its reported enrollment of 528 in 2017-18.

That resulted in overpayments of about $2.2 million by the state Department of Education, more than $91,000 by the federal Department of Education and nearly $231,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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