Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Daniel K. Hughes, former CEO of the defunct Bradley Academy of Excellence, was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for his role in the theft of over $2.6 million from the Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Dept. of Education, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and the Federal Communications Commission.
Bradley Academy (also known as the Discovery Creemos Academy and Bradley Creemos Academy) was a charter school in Goodyear that abruptly closed its doors in January 2018. It was then discovered that the school had falsified its attendance records, and Hughes was the architect of a scheme reporting fake students, called “caspers,” to the Arizona Department of Education to increase funding. Hughes and accomplices, Principal Harold Cadiz and Vice Principal Joanna Vega, reported 191 caspers during the 2016-2017 academic year and 453 caspers during the 2017-2018 academic year. This resulted in more than two million dollars in overpayments for those years.
Hughes pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy and one count of Theft. A Maricopa County Superior Court Judge sentenced him on March 12, 2021. After release from prison, Hughes will be placed on supervised probation for five years.
Hughes’ accomplices both pleaded guilty and were sentenced in 2020. Cadiz was sentenced to 3.75 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised probation with white-collar terms. Vega was sentenced to four months of jail and 5 years of supervised probation with white-collar terms.
All three defendants are ordered to pay $2,538,722 together in restitution.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Harriss prosecuted the case.