Georgia education agency won’t escape cost of fraud case


The bill for a 2007 fraud case involving federal education grants has come due in Georgia.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Wednesday denied the state Department of Education’s petition to waive the negotiated repayment of $2.1 million connected with the decade-old fraud scheme.

The case stems from an investigation requested by the leader of the state education department at that time, Superintendent Kathy Cox. 

This resulted in a 34-page report by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts issued, which found a “severely flawed” competition for dollars from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program during the 2006-07 school year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2008. "During the course of our examination, we recovered evidence indicating a complex fraud scheme was in place,” the report said.

The decision Wednesday by a three-judge federal panel said Georgia agreed to repay $2.1 million of $5.7 million in inappropriately “diverted” funds, but then petitioned the courts to eliminate the payment. The judges denied the petition.

A spokeswoman for the state education agency, now run by Superintendent Richard Woods, had no comment about the decision.

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