Daniel K. Hughes, former chairman and director of the Bradley Academy of Excellence, pleaded guilty to a $2.5 million conspiracy involving the use of false students.
During the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic school years, Bradley Academy of Excellence fraudulently over-reported the number of students enrolled in the school to receive additional funding. School officials and employees conspired together to create fake students that were reported to the State of Arizona/Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education. The school abruptly closed its doors in December 2017 before a scheduled audit by the Arizona Department of Education. The audit revealed during the 2017-2018 academic year, Bradley Academy reported 528 enrolled students. However, 453 of those students were fraudulent. For the 2016-2017 academic year, Bradley Academy reported 652 enrolled students. However, 191 were fraudulent. This resulted in the school receiving approximately $2.2 million in overfunding from the State of Arizona, $91,000 in overfunding from the U.S. Department of Education, and $230,000 in overfunding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for meals.
On Wednesday morning, Hughes pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy, a class 2 felony, and faces a sentence range in the Department of Corrections between 3 and 12.5 years. Hughes also pleaded guilty to one count of Theft, a class 2 felony, and will be placed on probation following his release from prison.