Online school founder gets 20 months

Nicholas Trombetta

PITTSBURGH — The founder and former chief executive officer of an online Pennsylvania public school has been sentenced to 20 months in prison on a conviction of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

Sixty-three-year-old Nicholas Trombetta, of East Liverpool, Ohio, was also ordered Tuesday to pay more than $400,000 in restitution.

Trombetta was indicted almost five years ago. He pleaded guilty to tax conspiracy almost two years ago, acknowledging that he siphoned off some $8 million from The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

He acknowledged having used the money to buy, among other things, a $933,000 Florida condominium and $180,000 for houses for his mother and girlfriend in Ohio.

A former accountant, 62-year-old Neal Prence, was sentenced earlier this month to a year and a day.