COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A federal jury has found the former director of a troubled Midlands charter school guilty of embezzling more than a million dollars in government money meant for her school's students.
Benita Dinkins-Robinson, 40, faces up to 10 years in prison on two federal counts of theft of government property.
Dinkins-Robinson was the executive director of the Mary L. Dinkins Higher Learning Academy, which had schools in Bishopville and Sumter.
A SLED investigation into the K-12 school's finances began in the fall of 2012. The FBI later became involved.
Prosecutors say she converted grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Education funding to her own use or the use of another without the authority to do so.
Court documents indicate Dinkins-Robinson obtained at least $1.4 million in proceeds from the government.
The state revoked Mary L. Dinkins School's charter in early 2013 and ordered it to close, but Dinkins-Robinson continued to operate, claiming MLD was still an organized school operating out of a church in Sumter.
The school later closed for good.
The jury determined that Dinkins-Robinson must forfeit over $750,000 in annuities that she purchased while serving as the executive director of the school as well as her share in a Camden house that she owned.
A judge will sentence Dinkins-Robinson at a later date.