OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The criminal case filed against Epic Charter Schools’ co-founders and former Chief Financial Officer is now set to move forward.
Epic Charter Schools founders David Chaney, Ben Harris and former Chief Financial Officer Josh Brock face an array of charges, including racketeering and embezzlement of state funds.
The OSBI investigation started in 2013 at the request of then-Gov. Mary Fallin based on a complaint from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) of dual enrollment in the school.
A second request then came in 2019 from a state legislator who was concerned about misappropriation of funds.
Investigators called it a complicated criminal enterprise through the school’s entities. This included things like commingling of funds, excessive and unnecessary management fees, the use of Oklahoma tax dollars in California, political influence, concealment of profits, submission of false invoices and the illegal use of employees.
Over the years, the scheme resulted in a cost to the state of Oklahoma in excess of $22 million.
Previously, the State Auditor Cindy Byrd called the case, “the largest abuse of taxpayers funds in the history of this state.”
In January, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond notified Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna that his office will take on the responsibility of prosecuting.
Now, a judge has scheduled the preliminary hearings for late October 2023.
Before the charges were filed, Epic Charter Schools had already severed ties with the founders.