California Charter Academy (10,000 students / 60 sites)

If former mayor Tad Honeycutt and Steven Cox are to ever have their day in court, it won’t be any time soon.

The two men, who between them face 117 felony charges related to the financial transactions connected to the defunct California Charter Academy, were originally indicted in Sept. 2007…

At the time of its collapse in Aug. 2004, CCA was the largest charter school in California, with 36 schools around the state. An audit, commissioned by the California Department of Education, and released in April 2005, accused CCA founder Cox, Honeycutt and others of misappropriating $23 million in state and federal taxpayer funds. The charges ultimately filed against Cox and Honeycutt center on an alleged $5.5 million in illegal transactions between the CCA and a for-profit subsidiary run by Honeycutt.

Honeycutt is charged with 15 counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, 15 counts of Grand Theft, three counts of failure to file a state tax return and a single count filing a false tax return. If convicted, Honeycutt could face 20 years in prison.

Phelan resident Cox is charged with 56 counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, 56 counts of Grand Theft and a single count of failing to file a tax return. If convicted, Cox faces up to 64 years in prison…
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CHARTER SCHOOL NETWORK FOUNDER INDICTED; September 4, 2007; The Washington Post,
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- The founder of one of California's largest charter school networks was indicted Tuesday on 113 felony counts and accused of siphoning millions in public school funds, prosecutors said.

C. Steven Cox, founder of the now-defunct California Charter Academy, was indicted on 56 counts of misappropriation of public funds and 56 counts of grand theft, said Michael Fermin, a supervising deputy district attorney. Cox was also accused of failing to file a state tax return, he said.

The grand jury also indicted Tad Theron Honeycutt, a Hesperia city councilman, on 15 counts of misappropriation of funds, 15 counts of grand theft, three counts of failure to file a state tax return and one count of filing a false tax return...
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A San Bernardino County grand jury on Tuesday indicted the founder of a charter school network that was once the largest in California, charging him with grand theft and misappropriation of public school funds. A Hesperia city councilman was also indicted.

Charles Steven Cox, 59, who built California Charter Academy into a statewide string of 60 campuses serving more than 10,000 students from Yuba City to Chula Vista, was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with more than 100 counts of misappropriation of charter school funds and theft of nearly $5.5 million.

A 2005 state audit alleged that Cox, as head of the charter academy and also owner of a for-profit company that provided management services to the schools, misused millions of dollars in charter school funds to lavishly pay himself, friends and family and to buy luxuries such as spa services and concert tickets.

Dist. Atty. Michael A. Ramos said he launched the investigation after reading the state audit, which he said "turned my stomach a little bit." He said the "true victims" were the 4,500 students who scrambled to find new schools when the charter schools abruptly closed their doors in August 2004…
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PAIR INDICTED IN CALIFORNIA CHARTER SCHOOL INVESTIGATION (Investigative Report from the Office of Inspector General, September 4, 2007)
San Bernardino, CA — Today, a special criminal grand jury presented an indictment to the Presiding Judge of San Bernardino County. The indictment charges Charles Steven Cox, 59, of Phelan and Tad Theron Honeycutt, 44, of Hesperia with 117 felony counts ― 56 counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, in violation of Penal Code Section 424, and 56 counts of Grand Theft, in violation of Penal Code Section 487 (a). The dollar amount loss is in excess of $5,000,000.00. Cox is accused in all 112 counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds and Grand Theft. Honeycutt is accused in 30 of those 112 counts.

Cox is also accused of failing to file a tax return, in violation of Revenue and Taxation Code Section 18706. Honeycutt is accused in three counts of failing to file a tax return in violation of the above-mentioned code, as well as being accused in one count of filing a false tax return, in violation of Revenue and Taxation Code Section 18705.

As a result of the indictment and arrest warrants issued, the defendants were arrested and arraigned in Superior Court in Victorville this morning before Judge Margaret Powers. Both defendants entered not guilty pleas. Bail is set at $1 million for Cox and $500,000 for Honeycutt. The next hearing is scheduled for September 7, 2007, in Superior Court in Victorville for Confirmation of Counsel and further proceedings.
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Amid a widening investigation into its finances and management practices, the state's largest charter school operator has shut down all its campuses, including two in San Diego County.

Nearly 10,000 students will need to find new schools. The two satellite campuses in San Diego County are in Vista and Chula Vista and served more than 200 students.

Until its demise, the California Charter Academy operated a network of 60 campuses and nearly 10,000 students. Its headquarters were in Victorville, but school sites were scattered across California, from San Diego to Gridley in Butte County…

The academy's schools in Vista and Chula Vista were among six operated in the state under a charter from the Orange Unified School District. District trustees revoked the organization's charter on Monday.

The Vista site, which leased classrooms from the North County Tabernacle of Praise for three years, served about 100 students. The Chula Vista site, which leased space from Hilltop Tabernacle for 2½ years, served 130 to 150 students, according to people familiar with the schools…

The charter school operator drew the attention of state and local officials, who questioned the nonprofit organization's finances and the dual role of C. Steven Cox as CEO of the academy and CEO of a private firm, Educational Administrative Services Corp. It managed the schools in exchange for 8.5 percent of the $35 million in state funding provided to Charter Academy last year.

The California Charter Academy has received more than $100 million in state money since 1999.

California Department of Education officials last week subpoenaed academic and financial records from the Charter Academy as part of an investigation into a potential conflict of interest and other alleged violations of the law…
Orange Unified School District officials, who began investigating the organization last August, said there has been an exodus of high-level staff members from the Charter Academy in recent months.

State and Orange Unified officials were scrambling to inform students, parents and school districts about the charter closures.

Orange Unified is developing a Web page to inform students of their enrollment options in their home districts. It will post notices at former charter sites and send letters to local superintendents to tell them to expect an influx of displaced students.

At its peak, California Charter Academy enrolled more than 11,000 students at some 60 sites in 20 counties.

Many of its campuses were far away from the school districts that sponsored them and thus did not have close scrutiny…

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