May 27, 2014
By Stephanie West
The executive director of special education provider IncludED Educational Services has pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to grand larceny charges. Morton Kramer agreed to pay $418,000 in restitution as part of his plea agreement and is banned for life from providing special education services for the state.
The use of contracted educational services by schools continues to be problematic for municipalities. There is a consistent better quality of service when school systems hire educational employees.
“This guilty plea shows that those who rip off taxpayers and students will not get away with it,” DiNapoli said. “I would like to thank Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for prosecuting this case and bringing this wrongdoer to justice. Waste, fraud and abuse that shortchange children from getting critical services cannot be tolerated in our special education. My office will continue to do everything it can to root it out.”
Kramer admitted that the now-defunct IncludEd, based in Cedarhurst, Nassau County, inappropriately charged New York City’s Department of Education (DoE) and other school districts for salaries paid to his sons and other relatives as discovered in an in-depth NYS Comptroller investigation.
IncludED provided special education services to children between the ages of three and five. School districts paid tuition to IncludED using rates set by the State Education Department (SED).
NYS Comptroller audits and investigations of the special education sector have so far resulted in ten felony arrests and five guilty pleas with more than $3 million in ordered restitution.