by: Tony Thomas Updated:
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - A group of Forsyth County parents are scrambling to find schools for their children after the academy they attended abruptly closed.
Now the parents are accusing the schools' owner of theft by taking. The families said they can't reach the owner and haven't been refunded their prepaid tuition.
Channel 2's Tony Thomas has also learned that the last few weeks the One World Academy was in operation on Trammel Road, it had no state license.
At least eight families have filed complaints with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, wanting criminal charges to be filed against the academy's owner. So far, investigators said they don't have enough evidence for criminal charges and have urged the families to take action in civil court.
Parent Christine Troy said she began having suspicions about her daughter's school last spring. That's when the owner abruptly changed the name of the academy from North Atlanta International to One World. The Academy also changed locations the same week.
"She said we are rebranding our school, we are going to offer more," Troy said.
The Troys said they are out $6,075 in tuition they paid through the Georgia State Student Scholarship Fund.
Other families filed reports saying they had paid tuition or fee's ranging from $698 to $15,000 and have not received anything back so far.
"Everyone just feels like this has been a scam all along, we thought we had some good quality education for our kids," parent Craig Troy said.
The owner has not been charged criminally, but may have other things to worry about.
The State Department of Early Learning and Care (or DECAL) confirmed to Thomas when the Academy changed its location, its license didn't transfer too.
In an email, DECAL spokesperson Reg Griffin wrote, "We sent inspectors out between 6/21 and 7/1 and again after 7/1 but never found them operating anything. They were in the application process, when the application was withdrawn at or around 7/5/13, so the application as a whole was never approved."
Thomas tried tracking down the owner for comment but couldn't find her. The families said they are considering their options and hope their money is simply returned.