PHOENIX – A former employee of a Goodyear charter school, Harold Cadiz pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of theft, class two felonies, for his role in reporting false student enrollment at the Bradley Academy of Excellence a.k.a Discovery Creemos Academy.
Under the plea agreement, Cadiz faces between 3 and 12.5 years in prison, followed by a period of supervised probation up to seven years. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 27, 2020 at 9:30 AM.
A loss of approximately $2.2 million was incurred by the Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a result of the theft.
According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Bradley Academy was failing financially due to low enrollment numbers. In order to avoid reduced payments from the State, the Bradley Academy of Excellence “enrolled” fake students.
Investigators found that during the 2016-2017 academic year, Bradley Academy reported approximately 191 fake students to the Arizona Department of Education. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the number of fake students reported rose to approximately 453. The Bradley Academy closed abruptly in January of 2018, ahead of a random audit from the Arizona Department of Education. In preparation for that audit, Cadiz created hundreds of fraudulent documents to support fake students including photoshopped parents’ driver licenses, student birth certificates, and student shot records.
Cadiz is the second individual to plead guilty for his role in this fraud. In November of 2018, Daniel Hughes, the Chairman and Director of the Bradley Academy, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft. A sentencing date for Hughes has not been scheduled yet.
In January 2019, Harold Cadiz and Joann Vega were indicted for their alleged roles in the approximately $2.2 million fraud.
The case against the other defendant, Joann Vega, is ongoing.