Nancy New and her son Zach New reached deals Wednesday to plead guilty in a federal case involving $4 million in public school dollars prosecutors say they bilked for their private school.

New, owner of the now-defunct New Summit School, a once-popular private school that served students with special needs, pleaded guilty to one count of using proceeds of wire fraud, which comes with a possible prison sentence of up to ten years. Zach New, vice president for the private school district called New Learning Resources Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to five years. They could each face fines up to $250,000. The sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves is set for Nov. 19, 2022.

The joint federal indictment against the News, filed over a year ago, alleged they defrauded the Mississippi Department of Education out of $4 million in public education dollars by filing fake reimbursement claims. Nancy New pleaded guilty in that case, while prosecutors split off Zach’s charge in a separate bill of information, a document that is filed when a defendant agrees to plead guilty without the grand jury handing down an indictment.

Zachary New, 38, leaves the federal courthouse in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, March 18, 2021, following an appearance in court. A federal grand jury indicted New and his mother Nancy New, 68, on wire fraud and other charges that accuse them of improperly obtaining millions of dollars from the state of Mississippi.

The plea deals come on the heels of Mississippi Today’s “The Backchannel” investigation that reveals new details about former Gov. Phil Bryant’s involvement in a separate scandal involving the Mississippi Department of Human Services, in which the News are currently facing separate state charges. The recent plea agreements also come less than three weeks before the News were set to stand trial in the federal case.

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