Federal Indictment Fuels Concerns About Pa. Cyber Charters
August 27, 2013
Federal investigators recently unveiled a grand jury indictment of Nicholas Trombetta, the founder and former CEO of Pennsylvania’s largest cyber charter school, now alleged to have stolen nearly $1 million in public money and improperly diverted a total of $8 million to avoid federal income taxes.
The Cliff Notes version of the indictment is that prosecutors allege Trombetta created a byzantine network of companies and nonprofits, then used those entities to bilk PA Cyber Charter School—and taxpayers—by billing the school for work that was never done, using school employees to do work for the other companies, and redirecting funds to himself and family members. Prosecutors also allege that Trombetta took more than $500,000 in kickbacks related to laptop purchases for students and filed false tax returns in each year between 2007 and 2011. All told, Trombetta is facing 11 fraud and tax charges. His accountant, Neal Prence, was also charged.