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New developments occurred this week in the criminal case against Epic Charter Schools co-founders Ben Harris and David Chaney and their longtime chief financial officer, Josh Brock.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond, who took over prosecution of the case in January, added four new charges, including an additional count of embezzlement and money laundering.

Harris and Chaney founded Epic Charter Schools, the state’s largest online charter school, in 2011 and also operated Epic Youth Services, a for-profit company contracted to manage the school.

Harris, Chaney and Brock were arrested in June 2022 and accused of using school funds for personal gain, including political campaign donations, a lobbyist, and personal expenses like vacations. Investigators allege the men ran a criminal enterprise using the online charter school and a for-profit company, Epic Youth Services, to bilk the state out of at least $22 million.

In one of the new charges, filed Oct. 4, prosecutors say the men transferred money from Epic Youth Services to a shell company called Edtech, LLC, then transferred the money to themselves to falsely justify fraudulent management fee invoices, according to the court documents.

Several of the other new charges are related to the alleged false invoices, including using a computer to prepare the invoices and submitting them to the state.

Prosecutors are expected to detail their evidence to support the charges in a week-long preliminary hearing now scheduled to start Jan. 22. The hearing was set to start Monday but the judge agreed to give Chaney, Harris and Brock more time.

Catch up on our previous coverage of Epic dating back to 2016 here.

Questions, comments, story tips? Reach out via email or direct message.

— Jennifer Palmer

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