Friday, March 2, 2012

Voucher school leader indicted on federal charges

From the nation's voucher capital -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- comes news that the administrator of a school that operated on voucher funds has been indicted on federal charges of theft and fraud.

Further evidence that voucher schemes are tricky things.

United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced Wednesday that Gregory L. Goner has been indicted by a grand jury of theft and fraud counts.

Goner, who lives in Franklin, is 40 years old. He’s a pastor at Spirit Governed Baptist Church in Milwaukee, and he operated the Milwaukee choice school Excel Academy from 2004-2010.

According to Santelle, Excel operated in part with government funds, including more than $100,000 per year from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Goner has been indicted on five counts, alleging that he used Excel’s funds for purposes not related to the schools’ educational mission.

Among other things, Goner is accused of using the school’s funds to buy two apartment buildings and to pay a deacon at his church.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Education participated in the investigation.

If convicted, Goner is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the five counts. Four of the counts could result in up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted. The fifth could result in up to 20 years imprisonment.

The news release says the public is cautioned that the indictment is only an accusation, and that Goner is presumed innocent until or unless he is proven guilty.

Of course he is, and I wouldn't assume otherwise.

But if the voucher bill now being baked in our own House Ways and Means Committee should become law this year, I wonder: Who will be the first indicted on federal charges of fraud and theft in South Carolina?

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