Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sorry, what was all that about faith and values again?

I'm sure the devil made him do it:

Three relatives pleaded guilty today to swindling at least $5 million from state and federal governments by inflating the enrollment and the number of free lunches served at the defunct Prepared Table Charter School.

The guilty pleas, in a case that tarnished the reputation of charter schools and inspired tougher laws governing their operation come three weeks after the death of the accused mastermind, the Rev. Harold Wilcox.

Wilcox and three family members are accused of using the bank accounts of the Greater Progressive Baptist Church, where he was pastor, to launder fraud profits.

If the case had gone to trial next week as scheduled, the government would have presented proof that the defendants inflated the enrollment figures at the Prepared Table Charter School's three Houston area campuses and used a sham catering company to overbill a federal lunch program for needy students, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annise said.

Annise said the scheme also included a contract to rent church property that overcharged the school by more than $250,000.

Dear Baptists: One of your role models, I assume?

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