HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Department of Justice announced on Thursday, Oct. 20 that a man from York County pleaded guilty to obtaining by fraud and misapplying money from a York County charter school.

According to a release, 50-year-old Leonard Hart was misapplying the money from Lincoln Charter School (LCS) in York.

According to United States Attorney General Gerard M. Karam, LCS is a recipient of federal program funds because it receives grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Primary, this funding is called “Title I Funding” and it is financial assistance for schools with high numbers of children from low-income backgrounds.

The release states from 2013 to November 2021, Hart was LCS’s principal and CEO. The school offers a program by which employees are able to receive partial tuition reimbursement for furthering their education.

U.S. Attorney Karam says that Hart misrepresented that he was pursuing a Ph. D and submitted numerous requests for reimbursement for courses that he falsely claimed he was taken from a few universities. Hart also falsified records to support these claims for reimbursement and pressured a lower-level employee of the school and a former student to help him create a forged diploma.

Hart admitted that he submitted around 20 false and fraudulent reimbursement requests between 2018 and 2020. He has agreed to pay $55,311 in restitution which represents the total amount of funds he received through his fraudulent requests.

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