School head charged in plot to steal $700K in student aid


RALEIGH, N.C. (The News & Observer) — A school director has been charged with plotting to steal approximately $700,000 in student financial aid to help fund a religious leader’s North Carolina ranch.

Federal prosecutors said 51-year-old Brenda Joyce Hall made her initial court appearance on Thursday to face federal charges including aggravated identity theft. Hall and others lived at a Cumberland County ranch owned and operated by a tent revival preacher.

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Hall operated a home school known as “Halls of Knowledge” from the property.

An indictment says Hall used fabricated high school transcripts to fraudulently acquire hundreds of thousands of dollars in student aid to fund the operations of the ranch and make other purchases.