PEABODY-DARST-WEBBE (AP) — The founder of a defunct St. Louis charter school has been sentenced to 366 days in prison and ordered to repay $2.4 million in state money he obtained by inflating student attendance numbers.Michael Malone, 44, was sentenced Friday for two counts of wire fraud for reporting incorrect attendance figures for the St. Louis College Preparatory charter school, 1224 Grattan Street. Malone had pleaded guilty to those charges in August.
Malone used the money to pay school expenses, and in the process he siphoned funding away from public schools.
In his guilty plea, Malone said he inflated student attendance numbers by 10,044 hours in the 2016-2017 school year. The following year, he inflated school hours by 13,255.
The school opened in 2011 as the South City Preparatory Academy south Grand Boulevard. It changed its name to St. Louis College Preparatory in 2016 after it moved to the site on Grattan.
The school closed in 2019 when it lost its sponsor, the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
St. Louis College Prep had some of the lowest test scores among St. Louis charter schools.
MetroSTL.com staff contributed to this report.