Atlanta charter school founder indicted on theft charges

The founder of an Atlanta charter school has been indicted in connection with the alleged theft of more than $800,000 from the school he founded, the largest alleged theft in the history of Georgia charter schools.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted former Latin Academy Charter School head Christopher Clemons this week on 48 counts including theft and forgery.

Investigators say Clemons stole from the school by wiring money from the school’s bank account to his personal bank account and by using money at “adult entertainment establishments, for dinners and non-work related travel.” The alleged theft was discovered only after the school’s new principal noticed the questionable charges.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found numerous unusual charges in Latin Academy financial records, including a $12,000 charge at a strip club, thousands of dollars spent at Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead, and ATM withdrawals of hundreds of dollars at a time.

Earlier this fall, Clemons’ lawyer declined comment on his case.

If convicted on all counts, Clemons could receive a maximum sentence of 735 years in prison.

The Atlanta school he founded closed at the end of last school year.

The boards of two other charter schools Clemons founded in Fulton County have also reported more than $100,000 missing. Those schools remain open.

Read more: Inside the largest charter school theft in Georgia history

Find information about Latin Academy and other Atlanta schools in our Ultimate Atlanta School Guide