Broward school owner charged with stealing from state scholarship program

The owner of a Broward private school was arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking $63,000 from a voucher-like scholarship program for low-income students.

Florida law enforcement agents arrested Andrea Velandia, 37, the owner of World of Learning Academy in Sunrise on one count of grand theft for allegedly accepting $63,056 in subsidies through Florida’s tax credit scholarship program for 10 students who were no longer enrolled in the school.

The scholarship program provides businesses with dollar-for-dollar tax credits in exchange for donations to organizations like “Step Up for Students” that fund and distribute the scholarships, which help low-income families send their children to private schools. In this case, the checks from “Step Up for Students” were fraudulently signed in place of signatures from parents of students who had already left the school, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The school declined to comment on Velandia’s arrest.