Saturday, August 11, 2007

Former D.C. Charter School Oversight Chief Pleads Guilty to 4 Felony Counts

Just part of the cost of doing business in the education business. From WaPo:

Brenda Belton had some gall, by her own admission. As charter school oversight chief for the D.C. Board of Education, she repeatedly stole from the school system, arranging about $649,000 in illegal school payments and sweetheart contracts to herself and her friends.

Yesterday, she pleaded guilty to four felony counts of cheating the low-performing schools system over three years and trying to avoid taxes on her ill-gotten gains.

The former schools executive revealed numerous instances of the system's supervisors failing to catch on to what she was doing -- even as she was forging signatures, fabricating invoices and depositing taxpayer money into her bank account.

Belton, 61, admitted to U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina that she steered about $446,000 in seven no-bid contracts to friends and a cousin and stole $203,000 by paying school funds to a fictitious company she controlled. At the same time, she received $180,000 in illegal payments and kickbacks from friends she helped with school business. The crimes took place from March 2003 to May 2006, prosecutors said. . . .

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