Oklahoma City

Epic founders, ex-CFO facing felony charges – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2022-06-23 19:58:34 –

Prison reservation photo; From left, Ben Harris, David Channy, Josh Brock.

Oklahoma City — The founder and former chief financial officer of Epic Charter School have been arrested on multiple felony charges, including swaying and embezzlement, after years of investigation.

Founders Ben Harris and David Channey, and former CFO Josh Brock, were detained around 10 am and booked in Oklahoma County Jail with a $ 250,000 bond, according to the Oklahoma State Research Office.

OSBI faces three men guilty of swaying, embezzlement, disguising money, conspiracy to commit a felony, violation of the Oklahoma Computer Criminal Code, falsifying documents to the state, and illegal profits. Said that.

The OSBI investigation was started in 2013 at the request of the government at the time. Mary Foreign based on a complaint from the State Department regarding double registration. The second request was made in 2019 by a state legislator concerned about the misappropriation of state funds mandated by the Epic Blended Learning Center.

“This is a very complex and painstaking investigation, delaying many obstacles from reaching the truth,” said OSBI Director Ricky Adams. “Harris, Shanny and Brock have come up with a’get-rich-quick’that puts taxes in their pockets that were supposed to be used for the benefit of Oklahoma students. OSBI’s criminal investigation has unraveled complex plans layered, despite lack of cooperation, legal obstacles, and delayed tactics. “

According to Adams, the plan cost Oklahoma more than $ 22 million.

Complex criminal companies have emerged through Epic Charter Schools, Epic Youth Services, and Student Learning Fund. This includes a mix of funds, excessive and unnecessary administrative costs, the use of Oklahoma taxes in California, political influence, and concealment. OSBI reported on profits, false invoices, and the illegal use of employees.

“We are grateful to state auditors and inspectors Cindy Bird and several independent private audit agencies for their support throughout the investigation. We also thank Oklahoma students, their families, and tax payments. I would also like to thank the district attorney David Prater for filing the case on his behalf, “Adams said.

He said OSBI will not comment further on the investigation as the prosecution is currently pending.

A survey of the state’s largest online schools revealed on Tuesday that Joyhoff Meister, a public education inspector, recommends that Epic Charter Schools be put on probation for violating state law.

The latest research found serious problems, such as student attendance patterns that violated state law. A large unapproved bonus for staff. Violation of competitive bidding requirements and open conference law.

Problems continued to occur even after the Epic Charter Schools board broke off its relationship with founders Chainy and Harris and their for-profit company, Epic Youth Services.

Hoffmeister said the state board of education would recommend adjusting Epic’s accreditation status to probation at a meeting in July. This designation allows the school to continue to operate, but with enhanced state oversight and oversight. Epic is an online charter school with over 38,000 students last year.

Oklahoma Watch contributed to this story.

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