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Former CEO of Goodyear charter school sentenced to 4 years in prison for role in $2.6M fraud scheme

Pima County Jail
Posted at 3:13 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 18:33:07-04

GOODYEAR, AZ  — The former CEO of a Goodyear charter school has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a $2.6 million fraud scheme, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

Daniel K. Hughes, former CEO of the Bradley Academy of Excellence, pleaded guilty to stealing over $2.6 million from the Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Dept. of Education, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and the Federal Communications Commission.

Bradley Academy (also known as the Discovery Creemos Academy and Bradley Creemos Academy) was a charter school in Goodyear that abruptly closed its doors in January 2018.

Officials say the school falsified its attendance records and reported fake students, called "caspers," to the Arizona Department of Education to increase funding.

Hughes and accomplices, Principal Harold Cadiz and Vice Principal Joanna Vega, reported 191 caspers during the 2016-2017 academic year and 453 caspers during the 2017-2018 academic year. This resulted in more than $2 million in overpayments for those years.

Hughes pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft charges. After he's released from prison, officials say he will be placed on probation for five years.

Cadiz and Vega both pleaded guilty and were sentenced in 2020. Cadiz was sentenced to 3.75 years in prison and Vega received four months in jail.

All three defendants are ordered to pay $2,538,722 together in restitution.