Federal prosecutors indicted a former assistant superintendent of Pontiac Schools Tuesday on charges of money laundering and taking $236,000 in district funds.
Bloomfield Hills resident Jumanne Sledge, 40, left his job in Pontiac last year for a new position in the Inkster school system.
The indictment alleges that Sledge directed a district employee to write a vendor check for $236,000 payable to "Leadership Academy" and then put the money into an account he controlled. Two months later, he opened another account, deposited $200,000 and used the money for personal expenses, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, Sledge could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for fraud as well as up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine for money laundering. The indictment also seeks a forfeiture of more than $236,000.
The Pontiac school district receives more than $10,000 in federal funds annually. An audit of the district recently obtained by WXYZ showed the district to be $24 million in debt, with tens of millions of dollars misspent or distributed without proper documentation from its accounts payable section.
To account for its deficit, the district faces $26 million in cuts.
Sledge is one of a dozen people involved in a long-standing federal probe of corruption in the Pontiac Schools.
"Corruption in any form is a serious crime, but when a defendant steals from a school district, he robs children of funds intended for their education and their future," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, referring to the charges against Sledge.
Last week, the Detroit office of the FBI announced the formation of a mutli-agency task force to combat political corruption in Southeast Michigan.