Mother, son face additional charges of defrauding Mississippi $4 million meant to go to education

Published 7:18 am Friday, July 16, 2021

A federal grand jury has brought additional charges against a mother and son accused of improperly obtaining millions of dollars from the state of Mississippi.

Nancy New and Zachary New were charged with 17 counts of conspiracy, fraud, identity theft, and money laundering on March 18. They were accused of defrauding the state Department of Education by more than $2 million from 2017 to 2020.

That total has now been increased to $4 million and 21 felony charges, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

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Nancy New was president and Zachary New was vice president of a for-profit company called New Learning Resources Inc. The company was also doing business as New Learning Resources School District, which has operated the private New Summit School in Jackson and several other schools.

The indictments accuse Nancy New and Zachary New of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by saying they created and submitted documents to the Mississippi Department of Education to receive state money to pay teachers at New Summit School in Jackson, North New Summit School in Greenwood and South New Summit School in Hattiesburg.

The indictments also allege that some of the people were no longer teachers at the school or had never been teachers there and that for three years, Nancy New submitted to the Department of Education that she was teaching full-time at the New Summit School in Jackson, fraudulently collecting more than $67,000 a year.

Mississippi law allows some public education money to be paid to private schools for students with special academic needs. New Summit School has offered services for students with dyslexia and autism.

State Auditor Shad White announced in February 2020 that Nancy New, Zachary New, former Mississippi Department of Human Services executive director John Davis and three other people had been indicted on state criminal charges in what White called a “sprawling conspiracy” related to misspending of money in the Department of Human Services. White said then that investigators believe at least $4 million in federal welfare money was stolen.

In a statement after the federal indictments were unsealed Thursday, White said: “We are continuing to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our federal partners to advance this case, and today is another step toward justice for the taxpayers. I am proud of the joint work we have done with federal investigators that led to this indictment.”