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Charter School Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing Close To $2.2 Million From The Government

A charter school employee created fake documents for more than 450 fake students, stealing more than $2.2 million from the federal and state governments.

Harold Cadiz helped the Bradley Academy charter school in Goodyear create more than 450 fake students, in an effort to increase funding.

The school then closed abruptly in 2018, right after the state Department of Education announced an audit. 

According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Cadiz created hundreds of fake documents in preparation for that audit, including birth certificates, driver’s licenses and immunization records.

Cadiz is the second person to take a plea deal in this case. Daniel Hughes, the Bradley Academy's chairman and director, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft in 2018 and has yet to be sentenced. 

Under the plea deal, Cadiz faces between three and 12-and-a-half years in prison — plus up to seven years of probation.

Scott Bourque is a reporter at KJZZ. He got his start in radio working as a reporter, photographer and producer for the American Forces Network, covering the tsunami relief operations in Japan, naval exercises in the Pacific, and combat operations in Afghanistan. He graduated from Northern Arizona University and earned a master’s in journalism from Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. While at Cronkite, he helped produce the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award-winning investigative project “Hate in America” as a fellow for News21. For this project, he traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to interview parties on both sides of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, and Portland, Oregon, where he embedded with the Proud Boys, a far-right activist group, as they held a rally that turned into a riot. As a second-generation native Phoenician, Bourque loves finding and telling the stories that define and shape his hometown. In his spare time, he manages an Instagram page for Chloe, his father’s clumber spaniel, and enjoys the Phoenix area’s vibrant restaurant scene.