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Fraud investigator, School Warehouse manager take stand at Newpoint trial

Fraud investigator, School Warehouse manager take stand at Newpoint trial

Jurors in a fraud case that started in Escambia County are hearing more about the alleged scamming of 14 Florida schools.

Prosecutors say Steven Kunkemoeller, the owner of School Warehouse Inc., partnered with Marcus May, the founder of Newpoint Education, and used hundreds of thousands of state and county dollars for their own personal use.

Jurors heard from the woman who helped run Kunkemoeller's company, School Warehouse, Monday afternoon.

They also heard from an investigator who started working the case in 2015.

According to court documents, School Warehouse sold items like desks and iPads at inflated prices to charter schools run by Newpoint Education Partners.

The School Warehouse manager is a long-time family friend of Kunkemoeller and worked for his company for five years.

The manager said she began to manage the company's account in 2012 with no prior experience, but got a lot of her help from Kunkemoeller.

The manager told jurors she sent invoices to Marcus May and copied Kunkemoeller.

She said they were both aware of the prices charged and the amounts charged for shipping.

"Do you know why there was no charge added for 90 percent of those that were shipped?" Asked the defense attorney.

"We tried to bill that into process as best as possible, the times we did charge for shipping I am honestly not completely 100 percent sure why we didn't, but I was directed to charge for those and we did," said the School Warehouse manager.

"I noted invoices from which School Warehouse paid suppliers that appeared to have been shipped to schools, but I did not see corresponding payment from schools," one investigator said during the trial.

The investigator said he got involved in the case because of a financial issue related to missing funds at the school.

He said he noticed red flags after reviewing 80 invoices from School Warehouse.

He also said many of the items on the invoices were marked two to three times higher than its original price.

"School Warehouse had some logos that were kind of stretched, as far as the numbers go. The thing that alerted me the most on the invoice was the dollar value. You say, 'alright there more potential here for a fraud,'" the investigator said.

Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said the trial will last several more days.

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