Epic Charter Schools hit with new embezzlement allegations

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A newly released search warrant reveals several of the Epic Charter Schools' administration staff could face a number of felonies, including embezzling state funds and forgery.

The Epic Charter Schools investigation keeps growing and the new target is a home in Edmond.

Early Wednesday morning, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation seized the laptop and bank records of Kurt Talbott.

Talbott is a coach with OKC Storm, an athletic organization for home school students.

OSNI now linking him to an earlier embezzlement scheme naming Epic co-founder David Chaney along with Chief Financial Officer Josh Brock.

New documents say in 2012 Chaney and Brock opened a checking account called "EYS Learning Fund" to pay for students' extracurricular activities.

The account racking up more than $1.2 million dollars in state funds and investigators say they put the same amount or more into it every year.

But agents say those funds were disguised and that instead of going to students they were actually going to vendors like OKC Storm.

Oklahoma State Constitution says it's illegal for state funds to be used for things like extra-curricular activities where students receive no elective credit.

The warrant also says Epic "devised" this bank account after being warned about the law.

In all, OSBI says more than 1,200 vendors benefited from state funds and many of them not even certified to teach.

The new documents allege some of them are even "convicted felons".

Investigators say Talbott employed more than a "dozen coaches who were not certified teachers to have direct involvement with students".

Talbott also allegedly admitted to using state funds to pay those coaches and to buy things like uniforms and equipment.

OSBI says Epic "knowingly and intentionally used this money to make fraudulent expenditures" and that the entire school board "failed to oversee" it.

Epic Schools lashing back at the allegations and their attorney released this statement to News 4.

"EPIC and its founders will continue to cooperate with investigators, who have now been probing the school for more than six years. It is important to note that no charges have ever been filed. We are confident that the end result of this investigation will be as it has always been – no finding of wrongdoing. We are unable to elaborate beyond this statement due to the fact that the school has not been provided the affidavit that has been provided to some members of the media."

This is the second investigation into Epic Schools. Earlier this year, it was accused of embezzling millions of taxpayer dollars by enrolling students twice, allegedly making a profit of these so-called "ghost students."

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