Former charter school head sentenced to 10 years

Minneapolis, Minnesota (AP) September 2010

The former director of a charter school that served poor inner-city American Indian children has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for swindling nearly $1.4 million from the school.

Hennepin County Judge Joe Klein gave Joel Pourier more than double the normal sentence during August sentencing because of the impact of his crimes, which forced the Heart of the Earth Charter School of Minneapolis to shut down in 2008. He also ordered $1 million restitution.

The 40-year-old used the money to finance a flashy lifestyle, including a Hummer and a Cadillac SUV, while the school lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.

Pourier apologized, saying his actions were wrong. He pleaded guilty in July.

Klein said Pourier had stabbed his culture in the heart.