Alabama administrator found guilty in $10 million virtual school fraud | #phishing | #scams

An Athens City public school administrator was convicted Friday on federal charges in a scheme that defrauded Alabama public schools of approximately $10 million according to prosecutors.

“Today’s action shows that this former school official not only knowingly and willfully abused his position of trust for personal gain, but did so at the expense of the educational development of children. That is unacceptable,” said USDOE-OIG Special Agent in Charge Reginald France. “Deservedly, Mr. Carter will be held accountable for cheating Alabama students and taxpayers.”

A Montgomery jury found William Richard “Rick” Carter guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The verdict came after nearly four weeks of testimony.

He faces up to 20 years in prison, a mandatory consecutive two-year sentence on each case of aggravated identity theft and monetary penalties and restitution.

Carter was one of six people indicted in January 2021 on charges of fraudulently enrolling hundreds of private school students as full-time public school students in Athens and Limestone County between 2016 and 2018.

Carter was originally indicted on 121 counts, including one count of conspiracy, 85 counts of wire fraud and 35 counts of aggravated identity theft. Some counts were dismissed, which left the conspiracy charge, 79 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of aggravated identity theft.

All defendants originally pleaded not guilty. In April, three defendants – former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk, Gregory Corkren and David Tutt — pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. Corkren also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft.

In December, former Athens Superintendent Trey Holladay pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. Charges against his wife, Deborah, were dismissed.

Sisk and Tutt will be sentenced on May 11. Holladay and Corkren will be sentenced on June 2.

Holladay, Sisk, Corkren and Tutt each face a sentence of up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Corkren faces an additional two-year sentence and up to $250,000 fine for the aggravated identity theft charge.

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