3rd administrator pleads guilty in $2M West Valley charter school scheme

Feb 20, 2020, 1:45 PM

Bradley Academy of Excellence...

(Google Street View)

(Google Street View)

PHOENIX – A third administrator at a shuttered metro Phoenix charter school has pleaded guilty in a fake enrollment scheme that bilked the state out more than $2 million, authorities said Thursday.

Joann Vega, who was the vice principal at the Bradley Academy of Excellence, aka Discovery Creemos Academy, in Goodyear pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of theft, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

She faces a sentence of seven years of supervised probation or between two and 8.75 years in prison at a hearing scheduled for April 24.

Vega joined Daniel Hughes, the school’s chairman and director, and Harold Cadiz, the principal, in pleading guilty in the case.

They were accused of creating false student profiles and submitting them to the state to collect additional funding as the school’s enrollment plummeted.

According to the AG’s office, they reported about 190 fake students to the Arizona Department of Education in 2016-17 and about 450 phony accounts the following year.

The school abruptly closed in January 2018, citing financial woes, before the education department was to conduct a random audit.

Hughes pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft in November 2018 and faces between three and 12½ years in prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Cadiz pleaded guilty to two counts of theft last week and faces from three to 12½ years followed by seven years of probation. His sentencing was scheduled for March 27.

In addition to their sentences, the trio were ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $2.2 million to the state of Arizona, $91,000 to U.S. Department of Education and $230,000 to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally Saturd...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins Missouri and Idaho caucuses, sweeps Michigan GOP convention

Trump continued his march toward the GOP nomination, winning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri and sweeping the convention in Michigan.

11 hours ago

Maine man, 79, dies while hiking Pyramid Trail in Sedona...

Damon Allred

Gov. Katie Hobbs announces Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, establishes chief heat officer

Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the state's first Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, creating the country's first state level heat officer.

11 hours ago

Kacey Musgraves, center, performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Su...

Kacey Musgraves to play Glendale concert in September

Seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves is scheduled to perform at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Sept. 27.

14 hours ago

Jose Andres Guerrero Talamantes...

Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run case in Carefree from December

Police arrested a man on Friday on felony hit-and-run charges involving death as part of an investigation into a crash that occurred in Carefree.

16 hours ago

Traffic is backed up on Interstate 10 near State Route 347 south of metro Phoenix...

Report lists Phoenix, Tucson among U.S. cities with worst drivers

Two Arizona cities have landed in the top 10 of a national ranking of places with the worst drivers in the nation.

18 hours ago

Caution tape in front of police car....

2 police officers injured in crash with suspected impaired driver in Phoenix

Two police officers suffered minor injuries in a two-vehicle crash in central Phoenix early Saturday morning.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

3rd administrator pleads guilty in $2M West Valley charter school scheme