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Former director of Goodyear charter school pleads guilty to conspiracy

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PHOENIX — Daniel Hughes, the former director of the Bradley Academy of Excellence, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and theft.

According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Goodyear charter school over-reported its number of students enrolled for two years so it could receive additional funding.

For the 2016-2017 school year, 191 of the 652 reportedly enrolled students were fake. For the next school year, 453 of 528 were fake.

School officials worked together to create the fake students, which ultimately caused the school to receive $2.5 million in overfunding: about $2.2 million from the state, $230,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for meals and $91,000 from the U.S. Department of Education.

Hughes pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of theft — both felonies — and faces between three and 12.5 years in prison.

The school, previously known as the Bradley Creemos Academy, abruptly closed in December before it was scheduled to be audited by the Arizona Department of Education.

At the time, a statement from the school said financial troubles and online threats targeting staff members led to the closing.

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