The daycare center at Ft. Myer in Arlington is in the news again.
Monique S. Murdock, 45, the former executive director of Nia Community Public Charter School in DC, was sentenced last week to nine months in prison on a federal theft charge stemming from the embezzlement of $29,000 in funds meant for the school.
Murdock, of Fort Washington, Md., pled guilty in November 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of theft from a program receiving federal funds.
As part of her guilty plea, Murdock also admitted making unauthorized purchases with a government-issued purchase card while she worked as the assistant director of Child Youth and School Services at the Cody Development Center, located at the Ft. Myer Army base in Arlington.
The guilty plea resolved the criminal investigation in Virginia. After separating from the DC charter school, Murdock was hired in August 2009 as a Child Youth and School Services assistant director by the Cody Development Center at Ft. Myer in Arlington. In this position, she was provided with a government purchase card that was to be used for buying work-related items.
As part of her plea, Murdock admitted that from February 2012 through December 2012, while employed by the Cody Development Center, she used her government purchase card to make $11,773 in unauthorized gift card purchases.
Murdock’s restitution payments will include $29,000 to the U.S. Department of Education and another $11,773 to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The activities at the Cody Development Center were investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Defense.
Murdock was sentenced by the Honorable Richard J. Leon. Upon completion of her prison term, Murdock will be placed on three years of supervised release; Judge Leon ordered that the first three months of that time be spent on home confinement. Judge Leon also ordered Murdock to pay more than $40,000 in restitution for her crimes. Finally, he ordered her to pay an additional $29,000 forfeiture money judgment.
According to the government’s evidence, Murdock was a co-founder of Nia Community Public Charter School and its executive director from June 2006 through October 2008. As the executive director of the Northeast Washington school, she had the primary responsibility of overseeing its fiscal management.
Between July 2006 and August 2008, the school received more than $3.3 million from the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board. The school also received more than $548,000 from the U.S. Department of Education during the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years.
From March 2008 through August 2008, Murdock signed five checks on the school’s account, totaling $29,000, and converted them to her own personal use and benefit.
The theft charge involved the money stolen from the charter school.
Public charter schools are independently operated public schools that are open to all District of Columbia residents. Enrollment is on a space-available basis. Public charter schools receive public funds based on the number of students they enroll. Nia Community Public Charter School, for example, received funding through the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, as well as through the U.S. Department of Education.