Prosecutors say a couple who founded a Houston charter school system meant to help low-income families must repay $4.4 million and serve prison time for an embezzlement and tax scheme

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HOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors say a couple who founded a Houston charter school system meant to help low-income families must repay $4.4 million and serve time in prison for an embezzlement and tax scheme.

The Houston Chronicle reports Varner charter schools Superintendent Marian Annette Cluff pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to commit tax evasion and was sentenced Friday to 10 years in federal prison.

Her husband, Alsie Cluff Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit tax evasion and received a three-year term. He managed Varner business operations.

The Cluffs acknowledged siphoning $2.6 million of school funds, including some money provided by parents, to furnish their 7,000-square-foot (2133-meter) Houston mansion, travel via private jet and buy high-end personal items. They also had $1.8 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com