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Founder of Houston charter school accused with husband of embezzling more than $2.6M


HOUSTON — Federal prosecutors say a Houston charter school founder and her husband have been indicted on allegations they embezzled more than $2.6 million intended for school operations.

Prosecutors Thursday announced the 19-count indictment against Marian Annette Cluff and Alsie Cluff Jr. Marian Cluff was superintendent of the Varnett Public School; her husband was a top administrator.

Tax evasion and obstruction of justice are among the charges against the couple.

Among the allegations, prosecutors contend the Cluffs embezzled more than $1 million from orders submitted by parents meant for field trips, fundraisers and other purposes.

The Cluffs couldn't be reached for comment Thursday but attorney Dan Cogdell told the Houston Chronicle they acknowledge errors of judgment and have already repaid a significant amount.

School spokesman Pete McConnell says the Cluffs resigned last August from the three-campus, 1,600-student school.

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