Charter founder pleads not guilty
August 29, 2013 10:30 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The founder and former CEO of a cyber-charter school that educates more than 11,000 Pennsylvania students has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he siphoned more than $8 million from the school through a network of profit and nonprofit companies he also controlled.

Nicholas Trombetta, 58, entered the plea Wednesday at his arraignment before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh. His accountant, Neal Prence, also 58, pleaded not guilty to allegedly helping Trombetta shield the stolen money from federal taxes.

Trombetta, founder of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, is accused of buying a $1 million Florida condominium, houses for his girlfriend and mother, and spent nearly $1 million on living expenses since 2006. Federal prosecutors say he tucked away most of the rest of the money in a shell company for his retirement.

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