DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas charter school CEO was sentenced Thursday to more than seven years in federal prison for her role in a corruption scandal.
In October, a federal jury found Nova Academy CEO Donna H. Woods, 65, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and three individual counts of wire fraud.
After her conviction, the Nova Academy school board gave Woods a $20,000 bonus.
The federal judge on Thursday called the bonus “outrageous” and indicative of the management of the taxpayer-funded charter school.
U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater sentenced Woods to 87 months in federal prison and ordered her to pay $337,951.06 in restitution to the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox’s office explained in a news release.
Woods’s co-conspirator, Donatus Anyanwu, 61, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July. Judge Fitzwater sentenced him to 30 months in prison and declared him jointly and severally liable for the restitution owed to the FCC Thursday.
According to evidence presented at trial, Woods approved the granting of a federal telecommunications E-rate contract, worth approximately $337,951, to ADI Engineering, a company owned by Dr. Anyanwu.
In return for the E-rate contract, Anyanwu paid Woods $50,000 in kickbacks.
When the charter school initially selected another contractor for E-rate, prosecutors explained, Woods filed a falsified E-rate application re-directing the contract to ADI – despite the company’s shoddy record. To ensure that ADI’s bid was accepted by E-rate program managers, Woods also allowed Dr. Anyanwu to copy portions of the original winning bid and pass off the work as his own.
Then, when, ADI botched the E-rate job, Woods falsely certified that it had completed the work when it had not.