A grand jury in Escambia County in Florida indicted Newpoint Education Partners and its vendors for fraud and other crimes. Newpoint Education Partners was created by former employees of Ohio’s controversial for-profit White Hat Management company.


“An Escambia County grand jury indicted Newpoint Education Partners and three other companies for grand theft, money laundering and aggravated white collar crime.


“Newpoint managed charter schools in Escambia County for 21st Century Academy of Pensacola. Last year, the Escambia County School Board revoked charters for Newpoint Academy and Newpoint High for grade tampering and misuse of public funds. All three Newpoint schools — Newpoint High, Newpoint Academy and Five Flags Academy — closed. The enrollment at the three schools totaled about 350 students.


“The grand jury alleges that Newpoint and its vendors fraudulently billed 21st Century Academy hundreds of thousands of dollars for supplies, equipment and services. Newpoint and its vendors allegedly laundered the proceeds of the thefts through multiple bank accounts to conceal the criminal activity.


“The source of the alleged laundered proceeds was charter school grant funds appropriated by the state for charter schools to use to procure supplies, equipment and services necessary for startup.


“I’ve prosecuted charter schools before, but not this particular type of scheme,” Assistant State Attorney Russell Edgar said. “I’ve prosecuted people involved with charter schools for committing theft of funds and prosecuted people for misusing children to work off campus during school, but this is the first time prosecuting a managing company.”