Already facing charges in a massive embezzlement scheme involving over $4 million in welfare funds, a mother and son are now building a defense against additional charges of embezzlement from the Mississippi Department of Education. The woman and her son were president and vice president of a private, for-profit learning center for children with learning disabilities. As such, the school was entitled to some public educational funds. However, a grand jury recently indicted the mother and son for embezzlement of those funds.
The charges, including numerous counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, stem from transactions between March 2017 and May 2020. Allegedly, the two sought compensation from the state for teachers who no longer worked or never worked at the learning center. They are also accused of using social security numbers of other people to unlawfully obtain $2 million in state funds.
Where did the money go?
Investigators believe that at one point, the MDE deposited more than $750,000 into the account of the learning center. A few weeks later, the son supposedly wrote a check to his mother from that account in the amount of $250,000, which she allegedly deposited into her personal account. The following day, she used a check from her account to purchase a cashier’s check for over $255,000. Apparently, she then used that check to purchase a home.
The suspicion of federal embezzlement and other white collar crimes often involves many months of investigation and numerous agencies. Penalties for convictions can include massive fines, decades in prison and the loss of personal property. The circumstances involved in a case may also present aggravating factors, which can make those penalties even more severe.