Embezzlement of Fed-Ed funds in labor-state

Federal prosecutors have charged a former Oregon Department of Education accountant with stealing almost $1 million in federal education funds.

The U.S. Attorney's office says in an informational document filed in federal court last week that Brent Crosson of Salem diverted $925,000 in federal grant money to a company he controls from June 2006 to June 2007. Prosecutors allege he drew on his knowledge of the state's accounting processes to have electronic payments issued to CGA Wholesale, a company he started.

Crosson, 36, was fired from the Education Department in August after an anonymous tipster told investigators that Crosson had stolen public money. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Oregon State Police agents led the investigation. They have recovered $750,000 and expect to get back most of the remainder, according to Ed Dennis, deputy superintendent of Oregon schools.

The method that federal prosecutors used to bring the charges - filing an information, rather than seeking an indictment - suggests Crosson may cooperate and accept a plea deal to resolve the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Caldwell says federal officials won't say anything beyond what is laid out in the two-page document until they appear in court.

Crosson's attorney, Paul Ferder, was not immediately available for comment.


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