ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He started one of the most prominent charter schools in Albuquerque, but Wednesday, he admitted to stealing millions and lying to the FBI.
Scott Glasrud used to be the head of the Southwest Learning Centers, representing three different charter schools. Now, Glasrud faces up to five years in federal prison.
Glasrud accepted a plea deal in Albuquerque Federal Court Wednesday, admitting to what federal prosecutors call a 15-year fraud scheme. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Mexico say the scheme started in November 2000 and continued until Glasrud left the charter school consortium in 2014.
According to federal documents, it appears Glasrud stole more than $2 million from the four schools, which include the Southwest Secondary Learning Center, Southwest Primary Learning Center, Southwest Intermediate Learning Center, and the Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics & Science Academy (SAMS).
Glasrud and the SAMS Academy’s finances were the subject of a KRQE News 13 report in March 2014. At the time, Glasrud was making an annual salary of $210,000, as well as making money by renting his own private planes to the school.
At the time, Glasrud said that questions about how he runs the schools were misdirected.
“I recognize people have problems or they don’t like the way we’ve done it. We’re competition for people, but so be it,” Glasrud said in a March 2014 interview.
However, according to federal prosecutors, Glasrud was taking several illegal actions with charter school money.
“He’s accepted legal responsibility and he’s prepared to accept his punishment,” said Glasrud’s attorney Ray Twohig, who spoke to KRQE News 13 outside of the federal courthouse Wednesday.
According to Glasrud’s plea agreement, he’s admitted to creating fake companies and funneling school funds for projects into businesses he controlled. The two dummy companies were located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Court documents indicate that Southwest Learning Centers also received money from the legislature for building projects and paid it to one of the dummy companies with fake proposals and invoices.
The plea agreement also details an admission by Glasrud that he overcharged his charter schools for rent at a facility that he owned. Glasrud also admitted to stealing money from federal grants the school obtained.
Federal prosecutors said Glasrud spent money on personal items, credit debt and gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At a hearing related to the plea agreement Wednesday, Glasrud forfeited his passport and his pilot’s license.
After the hearing, his attorney, Ray Twohig, offered no explanation as to why Glasrud stole the money. KRQE News 13 asked Twohig if Glasrud was “sorry” for what he did.
“Well he obviously took responsibility for what… I don’t know what that means, is he sorry? Is that a religious term?” said Twohig.
When asked if Glasrud felt any level of remorse for the people he’s accused of taking money from, Twohig responded, “I think you could ask him that if he wanted to talk, but I don’t think he’s interested in making any comment, this is legal proceeding, not a religious ceremony.”
Twohig also said Wednesday that Gladrud does not have a gambling problem. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors say Glasrud spent roughly $80,000 at a Las Vegas casino in the last year alone, all while he’s known that he’s been under federal investigation.
A sentencing date has not been set. Glasrud was released on his own recognizance Wednesday afternoon pending his sentencing.
Glasrud is currently unemployed. He was making $240,000 a year when he quit the charter schools back in 2014. The board for the charter schools gave him an $80,000 severance package.
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