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DEATHS

Bobby (Bob) Wilks, 84

Born September 20, 1937

Died August 17, 2022

Richard Glen Byrd, 60

Born September 1, 1961

Died August 16, 2022

Larance S. Hill, 67

Born October 20, 1954

Died August 15, 2022

Joan Ann (Benge) Gladd, 87

Born December 28, 1934

Died August 14, 2022

Linda McDonald, 79

Born July 20, 1943

Died August 14, 2022

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Friday, June 24, 2022, 6:44 AM

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has arrested Epic Charter Schools founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, and former Chief Financial Officer Josh Brock. They were taken into custody and were transported to the Oklahoma County Detention Center for booking. Harris, Chaney and Brock are facing the following charges:

  • Racketeering
  • Embezzlement of State Funds
  • Obtaining Money by False Pretense
  • Conspiracy to Commit a Felony
  • Violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act
  • Submitting False Documents to the State
  • Unlawful Proceeds

The OSBI investigation began in 2013 at the request of then-Governor Mary Fallin based on a complaint from the State Department of Education of dual enrollment. A second request was made in 2019 from a state legislator concerned about misappropriation of state funds that were obligated to Epic Blended Learning Centers.

“This has been a very complex and arduous investigation with many roadblocks causing delays in getting to the truth,” said Ricky Adams, OSBI Director. “Harris, Chaney and Brock came up with a ‘get rich quick scheme’ that lined their pockets with tax dollars that were to be spent for the benefit of Oklahoma students. The OSBI criminal investigation unraveled the intricate scheme layer by layer, in spite of a lack of cooperation, legal obstacles and delay tactics.”

Through Epic Charter Schools, Epic Youth Services and the Student Learning Fund, a complicated criminal enterprise allegedly emerged that involved among other things: co-mingling of funds, excessive and unnecessary management fees, the use of Oklahoma tax dollars in California, political influence, concealment of profits, submission of false invoices, and the illegal use of employees. Over the years, the scheme allegedly resulted in a cost to the state of Oklahoma in excess of $22 million.

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