Ex-comptroller pleads guilty in community college fraud

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A former comptroller for a Louisiana community college has pleaded guilty in a $250,000 fraud scheme that went on for years, federal prosecutors say.

Carol Bates, who also had been charged on 12 counts of wire fraud, entered the plea Monday to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud between 2013 and 2016 at Bossier Parish Community College, U.S. Attorney David Joseph said in a news release.

He said Bates admitted at the plea hearing that she faked entries for 45 refunds totaling about $250,600 to nine people who agreed to return half to two-thirds of the money to Bates or her sister, Audrey Williams.

None of them was due a refund, and sometimes they weren’t even in school during a semester when they got refunds, he said.

Williams has pleaded not guilty, but two codefendants — Faith Alexander and Marquise Perry — have pleaded guilty. Each was charged with one count of conspiracy, and Perry also had been charged with three counts of wire fraud.

Alexander, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, got eight refunds totaling nearly $45,500 from 2014 through 2016. Perry, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, received seven totaling $49,500 from 2015 through 2016, Joseph said.

Each, like Bates, could get up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. has not set a sentencing date for Bates. Perry and Alexander are scheduled for sentencing Sept. 2.

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