Aide pleads in Philly charter school fraud case

A top aide to a suburban Philadelphia woman accused of having defrauded three charter schools of more than $6.5 million has pleaded guilty to three counts of obstruction of justice.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says 75-year-old Joan Chalker entered the plea Monday as jury selection began in the federal fraud trial of 75-year-old Dorothy June Brown and several other current and former charter school executives.

Prosecutors allege that Brown and others funneled public money to themselves through private management companies and then worked hard to cover up the scheme.

Authorities allege the scheme defrauded Wayne-based Agora Cyber Charter School, the Philadelphia-based Planet Abacus Charter School and the Philadelphia-based Laboratory Charter School of Communications and Languages.

Chalker is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 29. Defense attorney Joseph Poluka declined comment.

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