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Audit of Akron Digital Academy Uncovers $167,753 of Illegal Expenditures
Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber today released the 2017-2018 audit of Akron Digital Academy in Summit County, which uncovered that former Head of School, Lashawn Terrell, misused $167,753 of school money through a shell vendor.
“This is a very serious abuse of taxpayer dollars and we will seek to recover every penny,” Auditor Faber said. “Abuse of public trust has a rippling effect on communities and will not be tolerated by my office.”
As the head of school, Terrell was responsible for the daily operations of the school, which included making regular purchases for school business. From December 18, 2009 to February 8, 2013, the school issued payments totaling $167,753 to a vender known as Individual Development and Education Achievement Services (IDEAS), supposedly for professional development services. IDEAS would send invoices directly to Terrell who signed them, signifying receipt of services.
On July 1, 2013, the Auditor’s Special Investigations Unit received a complaint alleging embezzlement. Auditors examined the bank activity of Terrell and the owner of IDEAS, Danielle Lumpkin. They identified 78 withdrawals totaling $137,575 issued from the IDEAS checking accounts that corresponded to deposits totaling $65,735 and $71,840 in Lumpkin and Terrell’s personal bank accounts. Additionally, auditors found $30,160 in expenditures issued from the IDEAS checking accounts comprised of checks issued to Lumpkin for cash and debit card activity in merchant stores for personal purchases.
Auditor Faber issued a finding for recovery for $167,753 against Lumpkin and Terrell, jointly and severally.
A full copy of the audit report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.