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FBI searches PA Cyber School

July 13, 2012
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

MIDLAND, Pa. - The executive offices of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School were searched Thursday by the FBI and agents from two other federal agencies. However, officials would not identify the target of the investigation or the purpose of the search.

A statement from the U.S. Department of Justice's Pittsburgh office said the cyber school "as an entity, is not a current target of this investigation," according to published reports.

According to the reports, FBI agents carrying federal search warrants were joined by representatives of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General Investigation Services.

The school is on its summer recess and is focusing on enrollment for the 2012-13 school year, reports indicated.

Nick Trombetta founded the cyber school in 2000. At the time, he was superintendent of Midland School District.

The school enrolled more than 11,000 students during the 2011-12 school year, according to reports. Trombetta also taught and coached in East Liverpool City Schools from 1980-1992. He retired as the chief executive officer at the cyber school on July 1.

In the past, allegations against Trombetta and a number of educational organizations under his oversight have been the subject of state grand jury investigations. Those organizations included the Midland School District, PA Cyber, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center and the National Network of Digital Schools in Calcutta.

St. Clair Township Police Chief Don Hyatt confirmed that the FBI contacted him as a courtesy but added his department was not involved in the raid. No charges have resulted from the investigation.

The Justice Department's statement said Thursday's search was part of an ongoing investigation, according to reports.

In a statement released Thursday following the search, Michael J. Conti, chief executive officer of the cyber school, said the staff cooperated with the federal agents and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.

"We have told our staff to do their best to concentrate on fulfilling their professional obligations to our students, while making sure that they comply with any further requests from government agencies involved in this investigation," his statement said.

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