Richard Rose, the founder and Superintendent of Zoe Learning Academy has been indicted on 18 counts on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, theft of government funds, money laundering and false bankruptcy declarations.
Zoe Learning Academy was an open enrollment charter school and was based in the Greater Third Ward area of Houston. It also had a campus in Duncanville, a suburb of Dallas. The school started in 2001 and operated until it abruptly closed in September 2017.
Rose is alleged to have diverted funds from the charter school to fund personal expenses such as settling a personal lawsuit, paying personal legal expenses and buying a timeshare in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Rose was also the pastor of Life Tabernacle, a church on Cullen Boulevard. In 2013 Mr Rose was sued by a financial investor for not making payments on a $2.8 million real estate loan for the church. Mr Rose settled for $75,000 and allegedly used funds from the charter school to pay it. He also used $30,000 from the school to pay his legal expenses.
According to the indictment, Rose failed to disclose to the Texas Education Agency that the school paid more than $1 million for bus services to a company owned by Rose’s brother. He also failed to disclose payments to his wife of $60,000.
When Rose filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2017, he stated that the Academy’s revenue was $263,000, when, in fact it was in excess of $2.8 million. He also stated that the Academy had not made any payments to insiders in the year prior to the Academy filing for bankruptcy.