A former D.C. Public Schools employee and a Baltimore businessman have been charged in federal court with conspiring to defraud the District’s public schools of more than $200,000 through phony invoices to a program intended to provide tutoring and therapy to special education students.
Isaiah Johnson, 37, is accused of using his position as a compliance manager in the school system’s office of special education to provide 39-year-old John A. Faulkner Jr. with student names and forms so Faulkner could fraudulently bill the school system for services over the course of several years, according to the indictment announced Thursday.
The office of special education informs parents or guardians when children are eligible for additional services.
That allows families to retain outside tutoring and therapy services, which are paid for by the school district.
Faulkner owned a company that, in 2011, became eligible to be paid by the school district for tutoring and mentoring services, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors allege that Faulkner and Johnson were involved with creating phony time sheets showing services had been provided when in fact no work had been done.
From 2012 to 2014, Faulkner collected at least $217,366 by conspiring with Johnson to submit falsified time cards, the indictment claims.
These documents allegedly included the names and, in some instances, signatures from individuals who purportedly provided services, students, and the students’ parents or guardians. After receiving payment from the District’s schools, Faulkner would send a cut to Johnson, according to the indictment.
Faulkner and Johnson pleaded not guilty to counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and first-degree fraud at a brief arraignment Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Deborah A. Robinson.
Johnson also pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of engaging in official acts affecting a personal financial interest, and Faulkner pleaded not guilty to counts of money laundering.
Faulkner and Johnson, through their attorneys, Thomas J. Saunders and Clark Fleckinger, respectively, declined to comment.
The D.C. schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it is unclear when the school system stopped employing Johnson. But Johnson worked as a compliance manager for the district since 2011, and as a resolution specialist for DCPS between 2009 and 2011, according to his LinkedIn page.
Both defendants were released on their own recognizance pending a hearing in October. The U.S. attorney’s office does not comment on ongoing cases.
Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.