Mercedes Schneider reports the story of a charter school founder in New Mexico who milked his schools for millions of dollars. He got away with it for fifteen years!

No one cared. Even when the State Auditir reported the malfeasance to the New Mexico Public Education Department, no one cared.

The FBI cared.

In October, the charter founder pleaded guilty to 15 years of defrauding the schools for his personal benefit.

“ALBUQUERQUE – Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney and Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI announced today that David Scott Glasrud, the former administrator of Southwest Learning Centers in Albuquerque, N.M., has pleaded guilty to federal theft, fraud and false statement charges arising out of a 15-year scheme to defraud millions of dollars from the group of public charter schools he founded.

“During this morning’s proceedings, Glasrud, 50, entered a guilty plea to a nine-count felony information charging him with two counts of theft from programs receiving federal funds, three counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and two counts of making false statements. Glasrud entered the guilty plea under an agreement that recommends a term of imprisonment within the range of 48 to 63 months. Glasrud also will be required to pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the court.

“According to the felony information, Glasrud established the public charter school Southwest Secondary Learning Center in Albuquerque in Dec. 1999, and later established three other public charter schools in Albuquerque: Southwest Primary Learning Center, Southwest Intermediate Learning Center, and Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics & Science Academy. The four schools collectively are known as the Southwest Learning Center Schools (Charter Schools) and operate with public funds, including federal funds.

“Glasrud served as the Head Administrator for, and exercised financial oversight over, the Charter Schools until Aug. 2014. As the Head Administrator and an employee of the Charter Schools, Glasrud had a duty to use his best efforts on behalf of the Charter Schools in all matters of trust and confidence, and not to act for his own benefit at the expense of the Charter Schools. In his plea agreement, Glasrud admitted violating this duty of trust repeatedly over the course of 15 years by engaging in an ongoing series of schemes to defraud the Charter Schools for his personal benefit. Glasrud also acknowledged making false statements to FBI Special Agents who were investigating his criminal conduct.

“The felony information alleges, and Glasrud has admitted, that from Nov. 2000, Glasrud was doing business in his personal capacity as Southwest Educational Consultants, which he incorporated as Southwest Educational Consultants, Inc. (SEC) in March 2002. Glasrud served as SEC’s registered agent, director and President, and his personal expenses were paid out of an SEC bank account. Glasrud used SEC to facilitate his schemes to defraud the Charter Schools.“

Read on to learn the many ways the founder dreamed up to steal money intended for the schools.