8 INVESTIGATES: Pinellas charter school manager Marcus May accused in swindling case in jail

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WFLA) – Former charter school manager Marcus May charged with swindling more than $1 million from Pinellas, Hillsborough and four other Florida counties was taken into custody in Pensacola Wednesday morning.

May’s arrest comes nine days after a statewide prosecutor charged him with racketeering and organized fraud in connection with his former charter school management company Newpoint Education Partners.

May has to post $600,000 in order to bond out of jail after a contentious hearing in Pensacola this morning pitting the statewide prosecutor against May’s defense lawyer. During that hearing May balked at saying how much his current assets amounted to but admitted he now owns $1.5 million worth of real estate that could be used to post bond.

Bailiffs handcuffed May and lead him out of the Pensacola courtroom to jail after the hearing ended.

Prosecutors claim May and a co-conspirator Steven Kunkemoeller operated a scheme for years that bled a fortune in public tax dollars out of a network of 15 charter schools in six Florida Counties. Five of those schools, including Windsor Prep, operated in Pinellas County until last year. Another one operated for a year in Hillsborough County. One of May’s schools in South Florida stayed open for only two weeks before closing in financial ruin.

Prosecutors say May used money stolen from charter schools to pay for cruises, worldwide travel, plastic surgery, jet skis and luxury homes. They say the money came from kickbacks, overcharges for supplies and equipment, falsified invoices and even the kids’ lunch money who attended Newpoint-managed charter schools. At Windsor Prep, students and teachers had to make do without enough books, computers or other essential educational tools.

An 8 on Your Side investigation uncovered millions in fake loans at Windsor Prep and two other schools Newpoint operated in the Jacksonville area. Since last year, all of the Newpoint schools in Florida have shut down or been transferred to other management.

Pensacola- based prosecutor Russell Edgar who is now serving as an acting statewide prosecutor said May and Kunkemoeller face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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