Black Olive Restaurant Owners Charged With Fraud
An indictment also accused Hugh C. Clark and Ina M. Walker of defrauding a Cedarbrook charter school.
The owners of the Black Olive restaurant and health food store, neither of which have been open in months, were indicted on federal charges Thursday for allegedly defrauding a charter school they operated in Cedarbrook.
Hugh C. Clark, 64, and Ina M. Walker, 58, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and theft from a federally funded program, according to an FBI news release. The release said the 27-count indictment charges that Clark, the former president of the board of New Media Technology Charter School on Thouron Avenue in Cedarbrook, and Walker, the former CEO, improperly used approximately $522,000 in New Media funds to enrich themselves and advance their personal interests.
New Media was funded by federal tax dollars.
The release said the indictment alleges the two used some of the stolen money to support Black Olive restaurant, which was located at 24 E. Mt. Airy Ave., and a health store of the same name at 7122 Germantown Ave. Both were frequently closed during hours they were typically supposed to be open.
It also says they used $309,000 of New Media money to pay expenses at Lotus Academy, a Germantown private school they also controlled. Once the funds were deposited into Lotus Academy bank accounts, the defendants allegedly spent the money on the expenses of their private school and on their personal and business ventures.
The news release says the indictment alleges Clark and Walker used New Media funds to hire and pay a contractor for the purpose of creating and preparing the Black Olive health food store for opening. The contractor allegedly had an office at New Media but didn't teach students or do any work at the school. A marketing contractor was also allegedly hired with New Media money.
Clark and Walker allegedly made a payment of nearly $3,600 in 2009 to cover an overdue electric bill for Black Olive using New Media funds.
The release said there were allegedly several times there was not enough money in New Media's bank accounts to pay staff and said the school's coaches remained unpaid throughout the spring of 2009. The school also consistently failed to cover other expenses, the indictment alleges, according to the news release.
The FBI said Clark and Walker each face a substantial term of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $6.75 million fine and a $2,700 special assessment if they are convicted of all charges.
You can read the entire news release here.