D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine on Wednesday announced filing of lawsuits against seven individuals who are accused of showing false proof of residence in the District in order to send their children to D.C. public schools for free.
More than $700,000 in unpaid tuition or benefits, including costs and penalties, is sought as part of the lawsuit, the Attorney General’s Office said in a press release. The yearly non-resident tuition fee is about $14,000.
“Residency fraud not only cheats our taxpayers, but it also hurts District children who play by the rules, and frequently rely on the school lottery process to attend the schools of their choice. Our office will continue to bring actions against any individuals who try to fraudulently take advantage of free schooling for District students,” Mr. Racine said in his statement.
Lawsuits have been filed against April and Nicholas Fennell of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Both of them worked at the Imagine Hope Community Public Charter School Lamond Campus in Northeast. They are required to pay approximately $234,000 in unpaid tuition, damages and penalties as they’re accused of enrolling their three children in a magnet high school and charter school in the District between 2014 and 2016.
Among other defendants are Chantese Alston from the District and James Alston from Oxon Hill. According to the Attorney General’s Office, Alstons were living in Maryland when they sent their children to a D.C. public school and two charter schools from 2009 to November 2015. About $391,000 is sought from them in unpaid fee and fines.
Asaki and Rashidat Shittu, two adult sisters from Hyattsville, along with their father, Rasaki Shittu, of the District are also accused of showing fake D.C. residences. The sisters had falsely asserted that their children lived at their father’s address in the city, while they actually resided in Maryland.
Mr. Shittu allegedly filled out forms to aid the deception from 2010 through part of the 2013-14 school year, according to the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office. About $66,000 in unpaid fee and fines is sought from the women. In a separate complaint filed against Rashidat Shittu, around $15,000 in unpaid tuition is demanded.
In February, Racine’s office also brought lawsuits for more than $450,000 in tuition costs and fines against four Maryland parents and one District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) employee for residency fraud.