HOUSTON – What could $2.6 million dollars get you? For a couple of former school administrators, how about a federal investigation?
Former superintendent of the Varnett Charter School, Marian Annette Cluff, and her husband Alsie Cluff, are facing charges by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Department of Education.
A 19-count indictment alleges the couple embezzled funds intended for the school operations and programs were used for personal benefit. The charges range from conspiracy and mail fraud to tax evasion of more than $850,000.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the Cluffs embezzled more than one million dollars from money orders, all paid by parents of students for school related activities.
The Varnett Public School, formerly chartered, says the Cluffs have not been associated with the school during the 2014 – 2015 school year, and has been under new management since August of last year.
The interim superintendent, Dr. Margaret Stroud, says she’s heartbroken to learn of the allegations, but says school must move forward, making its students’ success top priority.
It’s believed the Cluffs are expected to turn themselves in Friday. If they’re found guilty on mail fraud charges or obstruction of justice, they face 20 years in detention, while conspiracy and tax evasion charges could add a five-year federal sentence. Oh, can’t leave out the $250,000 fine all charges could result in.
Will this be a lesson of penny-wise, pound foolish? We’ll leave the courts to make any change.