Arizona Authorities Investigating Multiple Charges of Misuse of State Education Funds

Empty Classroom
Getty Images

Since June, authorities in Arizona have been uncovering abuse, fraud, and misuse of state education funds. In one case, funds may have been used for abortions, buying big screen TVs, and other inappropriate things.

In the most shocking allegations, in June, authorities began to investigate whether education funds had been spent on abortions.

The state launched an investigation by the Department of Education into the possibility that money from the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account was used to fund an abortion procedure.

Under Arizona law, state funds cannot be used to fund abortion and ESA funds are certainly not to go for such a procedure. But authorities found questions on procedures offered by a health care clinic that was paid with ESA funds.

More recently, a woman in Chandler, AZ, was indicted for misusing scholarship money meant for her two sons.

Rashanett McDermott was accused of using the funds for her two sons for the 2014-15 school year on purchases at Walmart and other places.

Authorities said she bought a smart phone, TVs, and other electronic devices.

A grand jury indicted McDermott on charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices, fraudulent schemes and practices and two counts of theft for the misuse of the education funding.

“Anyone who is found to have blatantly abused the system by misusing public benefits will be investigated and vigorously prosecuted by my office,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Protecting the taxpayers of Arizona is a top priority.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.