EAST NORTHPORT, NY (PIX11) -- He lives in a large, fancy home in East Northport, Long Island, but Willard "Ross" Lanham may have financed a life of luxury for himself and his “cougar” wife with $3.6 million dollars from the New York City Department of Education. 

"The stories are suggesting you took the money to finance a lavish lifestyle for your sexy wife," PIX 11 said to Lanham while he stood on his front porch.

"They like to sensationalize, but that's not true," Lanham responded.

Lanham's wife, Laura, is now generating almost as much press as her recently-indicted husband. Her nearly nude photo from the website "cougarlifediaries" is in the newspapers, along with details of the criminal charges pending against her husband.  He's accused of ripping off several million dollars from a DOE initiative called Project Connect, which was created to wire the city's 1400 public schools to the Internet.  Laura Lanham has been doing her own work on the web for several years, but mostly just soliciting younger men for commitment-free flings.

"That's the lifestyle she chose," Willard Lanham told PIX 11 on his porch.  "I'm not going to say it's right or wrong. It's just the lifestyle she chose. That's why we're getting a divorce.  It started about 3 years ago, and it was just something she decided to pursue, and that's something that brought the marriage to an end."

Laura, who is now a contributing writer for cougarlifediaries.com, writes on the blog, “Needless to say I am still living in the house, still married, but living what most people perceive to be a single life.”  She adds, "For me, I love it. It’s flirty, empowering and I meet some of the most incredible people."

The two still live together in the East Northport home, part of a complex Lanham says he started building in 1998, three years before he started working with the Dept. of Education (DOE) as a chief computer consultant. Lanham even named the street after his wife: Laura Lane. "I loved her very much. We were together almost 20 years. I loved her a lot and obviously the street shows that."

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges that Willard Lanham created companies that overcharged the DOE for consulting services over a six-year period, forcing legitimate firms like Verizon and IBM to also inflate their fees to the DOE. Verizon and IBM have not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, but special schools investigator Richard Condon told PIX 11 the firms had questions about Lanham's dealings.  "They never went to anyone at the DOE," Condon told us. "When he sent them e-mails, no one from DOE was copied on the e-mails.  He became the single point of contact."

Lanham was making $200,000 a year in base salary, and he denies the investment he made in a Hamptons home and other real estate came from ill-gotten gains. The feds say he also bought a Porsche and other expensive cars with the money, and put his brother on the payroll of own consulting company. "It's a heavy charge," Lanham said about the indictment that could bring 20 years in prison.  "I'm just looking for my day to respond."

Lanham and his estranged wife have one child together, and he has two college-aged kids from an earlier relationship. "The kids have a lot to deal with," he told PIX 11.

But when we asked Lanham how his wife felt about her sexy photos splashed in the newspapers, he said, "She loves the attention she's getting."