Cashing in on Kids

More fraud in Michigan’s charter school industry

Businessman Steven Ingersoll developed a curriculum and, in 1999, started a management company to run the Grand Traverse Academy, a Michigan charter school. For years, the school performed at state averages and had a balanced budget.
“It was not until lawyers for the school began asking questions that the tangled financial relationship between Ingersoll's management company and the charter he founded began to unravel, culminating in the most significant federal criminal case in the history of Michigan’s 20-year-old charter school industry.”
Ingersoll is accused of diverting school construction loan funds to his private account and will go on trial for seven criminal charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. The school is left with a shortfall of $365,000. The federal indictment states that:
“he diverted $934,000 of it through several channels into his personal bank account and used part of that to repay money he had advanced to himself from the Grand Traverse Academy.”
Michigan's charter schools have been in hot water since the Detroit Free Press series that uncovered Michigan’s charter school corruption and lack of transparency and accountability, but state officials have not yet taken steps to address the lack of oversight.<br. Read the full story here.