AKRON, Ohio-- Prosecutors in Florida accuse the former head of a charter school company that runs locations in Akron and Cleveland with stealing more than $1 million from the schools.
Russell Edgar, an assistant State Attorney in Escambia County, Florida, said the investigation started when complaints were brought to his attention about schools there being mismanaged.
The investigation led them to Marcus May, the CEO of Newpoint Education Partners and Fairlawn, Ohio-based Cambridge Education.
It manages more than 20 charter schools in Akron, Cleveland and other Ohio cities. The Akron schools run by Cambridge Education include Towpath Trail High School, Muddlebury Academy, Main Preparatory Academy and Colonel Preparatory Academy.
A 14-page affidavit accuses May of buying supplies, computers, iPads and furniture for the schools from companies in which he either had a business interest or that would pay him kickbacks.
The affidavit also accuses May of marking up the prices of the supplies by as much as 165 percent. In some cases, according to the document, supplies that were bought could not be found in the schools when they were eventually closed.
The affidavit also accuses May of exaggerating attendance at the schools to get more money from the state of Florida.
May is alleged to have been involved in real estate transactions using money from the districts to enrich himself personally.
Prosecutors said money from one of his shell companies paid for May and his family's personal expenses. The charges include tens of thousands of dollars for restaurant bills, clothing and household expenses, $11,000 for plastic surgery, and tens of thousands of dollars for cruises and trips to Amsterdam, the British Virgin Islands, Brussels, Cancun, China, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Los Cabos, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Italy.
Although no charges are filed in Ohio, prosecutors in Florida said they believe it is not out of the question that the same corrupt activity happened there could have happened here.
May has not been arrested because he has not yet been found.
Florida authorities have arrested and charged an associate, Steve Kunkemoeller, who they accuse of running school supply companies that were involved in the scheme.
The Ohio Auditor of State, which would conduct any investigation into the alleged misuse of school funds, told FOX 8 it is aware of the accusations in Florida.
"The Auditor of State's office is aware of the situation in Florida and has been monitoring it for the past six months. At this time, we cannot comment on whether or not our office has taken any action related to Marcus May."