Former Charter School Board President Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Embezzlement and Wire Fraud

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

MIAMI – U.S. Federal District Court Judge Rodney Smith has sentenced Jimika Williams to 40 months in prison for embezzling federal funds.

A jury convicted Williams (also known as Jimika Mason) in March of two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and 18 counts of wire fraud. 

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Williams was the president of Advancement of Education in Scholars Corporation (AESC), a Florida non-profit that operated Paramount Charter School (PCS) located in Broward County.  PCS received federal funding through Title 1, which is only paid to a school if more than 50% of the students are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches. PCS also received state funding, paid through the School Board of Broward County. 

The trial evidence also established that Williams was the president of another Florida corporation, Florida Scholars Educational Services Corporation (FSESC). Between 2015 and June 2017, Williams unlawfully made payments to herself from AESC’s business account totaling nearly $390,000. This money’s intended use was to operate PCS. Instead, the funds were transferred/deposited into an FSESC account and used for Williams’ personal purchases, which included vehicle payments, a private school, rent, and other personal expenses.  

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, acting Special Agent in Charge Robert M. Dewitt, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Reginald J. France, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, Southeastern Regional Office, announced the sentence.

FBI Miami and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, Southeastern Regional Office, investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia Wood and Eric Morales prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney William T. Zloch is handling asset forfeiture.

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You may find a copy of this press release (and any updates) on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 20-cr-60135.