AP NEWS
Related topics

ECOT officials could face fraud charges for hiding data from state, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says

May 10, 2018

ECOT officials could face fraud charges for hiding data from state, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The ECOT online school may have commited fraud by withholding data from the state so it could collect more state funding, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost found in a new audit of the school today.

Yost said the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow had detailed data of how much time students spent online working on classes, starting with the 2016-17 school year. But the school withheld that data from Ohio Department of Education investigators, which inflated student attendance counts and won the school more money.

“ECOT hid the truth and gave meaningless and unreliable information,” Yost said in a press conference this morning. Providing false information to obtain money, however, is fraud, he said.

Auditor Yost has referred the audit and related work papers to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office for possible criminal prosecution.

“With the level of incompetence displayed by both the school and ODE, the regulator, it’s amazing that any money went to education whatsoever,” Yost said. “The Department of Education did not require proof that the students were engaged in learning, and ECOT was more than happy to oblige in providing watered-down information that the Department inexplicably accepted, even though they knew more-detailed information was available.”

We’ll have more here after Yost’s press conference.