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Comptroller says $400K stolen
Memphis Academy of Health Sciences2.jpg
Pictured is the hot tub the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office says former Memphis Academy of Health Sciences executive director Corey Johnson purchased for his home with school funds.

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, working in conjunction with the TBI, has resulted in the indictments of Corey Johnson, Robert Williams, and Michael Jones. All three men held leadership positions at the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences (MAHS) charter school within the jurisdiction of the Shelby County School System. 

MAHS serves students in grades 6-12.

Investigators determined the three former leaders misappropriated a combined $398,365 from the school between July 2015 and February 2021. This amount includes the following:

• Former executive director Corey Johnson stole a total of at least $337,955 from the school. Johnson used school debit cards, checks, wire transfers, and cash withdrawals to benefit himself. His $253,863 in personal purchases included Las Vegas trips, NBA tickets, a hot tub for his home, and a variety of personal items and services. Johnson also received $84,091 in unauthorized compensation including stipends, bonuses, duplicate and additional payroll payments, and salary payments that exceeded his contracted amount. His employment was terminated Dec. 3, 2019.

• Former finance director Robert Williams received improper payroll payments totaling at least $35,295. Williams collected duplicate salary payments, excessive stipends, and a questionable buy-back vacation payment. His employment was terminated Feb. 12, 2021.

• Former nutritional services director Michael Jones stole at least $25,114 from the school. This included $21,586 in unauthorized food purchases for himself. Jones bought food including shrimp, crab legs, ribeye steaks, salmon, catfish, and lobsters – food that is typically not served to students. He also used school funds to pay $3,528 for auto repairs on his and another school employee’s vehicles. His employment was terminated on Sept. 28, 2020.

Comptroller investigators have also questioned another $400,521 in disbursements that were authorized by Johnson and Williams. These disbursements are further detailed in the investigative report. 

In November 2021, the Shelby County Grand Jury indicted Corey Johnson on one count of theft over $250,000 and one count of theft over $10,000, Robert Williams on one count of theft over $250,000, and Michael Jones on one count of theft over $10,000 and one count of theft over $2,500.