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Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation opens fraud inquiry into Epic Charter Schools

Epic Charter Schools, which operates an online virtual school in Oklahoma, is accused of using falsified records “to fraudulently receive payments from the Oklahoma Department of Education,” said Gary Perkinson, assistant agent in charge of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
by Randy Ellis Published: June 10, 2014
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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has opened a fraud inquiry involving Epic Charter Schools, which operates an online virtual school in Oklahoma, officials confirmed Monday.

Epic is accused of using falsified records “to fraudulently receive payments from the Oklahoma Department of Education,” said Gary Perkinson, assistant agent in charge of the OSBI. “Right now, agents are conducting interviews and poring over records.”

The investigation was requested by Gov. Mary Fallin’s office in October, Perkinson said.

Bobby Stem, Epic’s director of government affairs, said Epic administrators are confident the investigation will clear school officials of wrongdoing.

“I know that we’ve got some disgruntled former employees, so I knew that there were some allegations out there running around,” Stem said.

Stem said he believes the allegations against Epic are centered on how the school counts its students.

Epic Charter Schools had about 2,700 students last year and expects to have about 3,000 next year, he said.

Students take classes online, but the school also has about 100 Oklahoma-certified teachers who travel around the state assisting pupils.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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