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Baton Rouge charter school cleared of criminal wrongdoing

A two-year investigation is now over for a Baton Rouge charter school, and no criminal charges have been filed. The FBI began investigating the financial operations of Kenilworth Science & Technology Charter School roughly two years ago. The school, which serves middle school students, has an enrollment of approximately 550 students.

Authorities had been investigating the nonprofit organization that oversees the school, Pelican Educational Foundation, since at least 2010. Federal agents appeared at the school to seize documents in December, 2013. Authorities removed numerous documents from the school for review.

It remains unclear exactly why authorities were investigating the school, although they were presumably investigating the possibility that federal crimes may have occurred. School officials indicate they do not know the basis for authorities' suspicions of criminal activity. However, previous reports suggest that authorities may have been investigating the school's business dealings with certain vendors; they reviewed financial records of some companies that transacted business with the school. Additionally, during the investigation a search warrant allowed agents to review school files containing records of board meeting minutes, employees' personnel files and tax records.

Fortunately for the school, the U.S Justice Department is not pursuing charges, nor is Louisiana's Inspector General's Office. After an extensive investigation, both the school and Pelican Educational Foundation have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing and face no state or federal charges.

When an individual, a business or an institution is the subject of an ongoing federal or state criminal investigation, it is important for the person or entity to understand their legal rights and be prepared for the possibility that charges may be filed. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can often be of invaluable assistance during the investigative process.

Source: theadvocate.com, "Feds drop criminal probe of Kenilworth charter school in Baton Rouge, no charges filed," Jim Mustian and Charles Lussier, Jan. 5, 2016

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