ST. LOUIS – The former headmaster of a St. Louis charter school appeared in US District Court on Wednesday and admitted to siphoning off millions of dollars in state and federal funds in a years-long fraud scheme.
According to court documents, 44-year-old Michael Malone pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud.
Malone founded the St. Louis College Prep Charter School in 2011 and was responsible for its day-to-day management and administration until his resignation in November 2018.
As a charter school, SLCP was tuition free and funded by Missouri and federal education dollars.
Part of Malone’s responsibilities included reporting student attendance numbers to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education so the state could calculate appropriate funds.
Malone admitted to inflating student attendance in his reports to DESE. In fact, in four of the seven school years, Malone falsely stated SLCP’s average daily attendance was higher than the school’s actual enrollment.
Malone He used those falsified reports to obtain an additional $2.4 million in funds, which he used to pay for resources which were not equally accessible to St. Louis Public Schools and other local charters.
St. Louis College Prep closed at the end of the 2018-2019 school year as a result of the scheme.
Malone will be sentenced on November 30. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of fraud.