Prime Prep superintendent files complaint with Tarrant County DA over laptop theft

Prime Prep superintendent files complaint with Tarrant County DA over laptop theft

Credit: WFAA

Prime Prep's Fort Worth campus

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 5:51 PM

FORT WORTH -- The Tarrant County District Attorney is being called upon to investigate the alleged disappearance of hundreds of student laptops missing from the two campuses of Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy.

Prime Prep Academy Interim Superintendent Ron Price lodged a formal complaint in Fort Worth Tuesday morning. Price met with a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney for more than two hours, turning over evidence of what he believes is the theft or unauthorized sale of school laptops.

The missing laptops are a part of a News 8 investigation. In an exclusive story, set to air on WFAA later Tuesday, a former contractor for the taxpayer-supported charter school said he took part in the sale of between 200 and 250 laptops weeks after the charter school first opened in 2012.

That contractor led News 8 to a Dallas-area liquor store, where one of the laptops had allegedly been purchased. When made aware of the allegations by News 8, Price ordered an external audit and a thorough inventory of laptops, which were purchased with state and federal funds for around $400 each.

Price told News 8 auditors had confirmed that several laptops purchased by Prime Prep Administrators were, in fact, unaccounted for.

“Our internal audit has uncovered evidence that a substantial number of taxpayer-funded laptops appear to be missing from our inventory," he said. "If the computers were, in fact, sold on the streets without proper authorization and the proceeds never accounted for, as has been alleged, then we believe the matter may have criminal implications.”

Price said he took his findings to Tarrant County criminal prosecutors because the Prime Prep Academy administrative offices are located in Fort Worth. He said the meeting with the district attorney was productive, and he feels matter will now be thoroughly investigated.  Price says since some of the laptop purchases were made with federal funds, he also plans to turn the information over to the FBI.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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