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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chairman Of The Board Of The Paideia Academy/Employee Of St. Louis City Treasurer's Office Sentenced On Fraud Charges

St. Louis, MO – FRED W. ROBINSON was sentenced to 24 months in prison on multiple fraud charges involving his submission of false time sheets in the Treasurer’s Office and his diversion of federal and state education funds from the Paideia Academy Charter School. The Judge also ordered restitution of $419,333.

Robinson was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Paideia Academy, a Missouri charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade.  He maintained an office in the school’s administration building and was involved in the day-to-day management and administration of the school.  Paideia was tuition free and funded by federal and Missouri education funds intended for legitimate school operations.  

According to testimony presented at trial, during 2009 and 2010, Robinson diverted approximately $242,333 of Paideia Academy funds for the purchase, construction, renovation and rehabilitation of a building at 4028 West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis for the purpose of developing and operating a Little People’s Academy day care center to be operated by Robinson and an associate through Paige C. Investments, LLC, in which Robinson had an ownership and financial interest.  Robinson failed to disclose his ownership and financial interest in the proposed day care center to the Paideia Academy Board of Trustees.  Robinson’s partner in the proposed day care center was a friend and associate of Robinson who worked as a bartender at a lounge frequented by Robinson, and who had no background, experience or training in early childhood education or the operations of a day care center.

Additionally, during each year from 2006 through 2010, as an employee of the Treasurer’s Office for the City of St. Louis, Robinson submitted false weekly time sheets falsely certifying work hours and was paid approximately $35,360 each year in salary based upon those false time sheets.

Robinson, St. Louis, Missouri, was convicted in March of one count of wire fraud and seven felony counts of federal program theft after a seven-day trial before United States District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig.
Other defendants that have been charged as part of the investigation are Dannielle Benson and Frank Habeebullah, both of whom plead guilty late last year. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Education-Inspector General’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated March 19, 2015