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Pennsylvania: Cyber School Kingpin Gets Light Sentence for Stealing Millions and Not Reporting It on His Income Tax Forms

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I have been waiting for the sentencing of Nicholas Trombetta for years, ever since he was arrested for tax evasion after not reporting the millions of dollars he stole from his cyber charter, the first such in the state of Pennsylvania.

Steven Singer reports the sentencing here, and he is outraged that Trombetta got a slap on the wrist, as compared to the long jail sentences meted out to Atlanta teachers who changed test scores.

What Steven doesn’t understand is that Trombetta was sentenced for tax evasion, not for embezzlement of millions of dollars. Embezzlement of public funds was not an issue, although it should have been. Apparently it is okay to steal from the state as long as you report it on your tax returns. Some of the embezzlement occurred by setting up shell companies with which Trombetta did business with himself, using public money. Watch for the “related companies” when following the money.

Steven writes:

Nick Trombetta stole millions of dollars from Pennsylvania’s children.

And he cheated the federal government out of hundreds of thousands in taxes.

Yet at Tuesday’s sentencing, he got little more than a slap on the wrist – a handful of years in jail and a few fines.

He’ll serve 20 months in prison, be on supervised release for three years, and payback the tax money he concealed.

As CEO and founder of PA Cyber, the biggest virtual charter school network in the state, he funneled $8 million into his own pocket.

Instead of that money going to educate kids, he used it to buy a Florida condominium, sprawling real estate and even a private jet.

He already took home between $127,000 and $141,000 a year in salary.

But it wasn’t enough.

He needed to support his extravagant lifestyle, buy a $933,000 condo in the Sunshine State, score a $300,000 twin jet plane, purchase $180,000 houses for his mother and girlfriend in Ohio, and horde a pile of cash.

What does a man like that deserve for stealing from the most vulnerable among us – kids just asking for an education?

At very least, you’d think the judge would throw the book at him.

But no.

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