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Press Release

York County Man Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Federal Program Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Leonard Hart, age 50, of Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to obtaining by fraud and misapplying money from Lincoln Charter School (LCS) in York, Pennsylvania.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, LCS is a recipient of federal program funds because it receives grants funded by the U.S Department of Education—primarily Title I funding, which is financial assistance for schools with high numbers of children from low-income backgrounds.

From 2013 until November 2021, Hart was LCS’s Principal and CEO.  LCS offers a program by which employees are able to receive partial tuition reimbursement for furthering their education. Hart misrepresented that he was pursuing a Ph.D. and submitted numerous requests for reimbursement for courses that he falsely claimed he was taking from a few universities. He also falsified records to support these claims for tuition reimbursement and pressured a lower-level employee of the school and former LCS student to assist him in creating a forged diploma.

Hart admitted to submitting to LCS nearly 20 false and fraudulent reimbursement requests between 2018 and 2020.  Hart also agreed to pay $55,311 in restitution, representing the total amount of funds he received through fraudulent reimbursement requests.              

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ravi Romel Sharma is prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

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Updated October 20, 2022

Financial Fraud