Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Ex-comptroller gets 5 years for college fraud in Louisiana

by Associated Press

A former community college comptroller in Louisiana has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $270,000 after pleading guilty in what prosecutors say was years of fraud.

Carol Bates, former comptroller at Bossier Parish Community College was sentenced Monday by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. in Shreveport, Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook said in a news release.

“Abuse of high trust is among the worst things a public employee can do,” Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street said in the news release. “Ms. Bates engaged in a deliberate and complex scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from an institution of higher learning, with no regard for the significant harm it would cause.”

Bates pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud from 2013 through 2016. The 45 fraudulent refunds totaled $286,987.08, according to the news release.

Bates’ sister, Audrey Williams, and two people who got refunds — Faith Alexander and Marquise Perry — also have pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said the sisters recruited nine students and former students to get refunds to which they were not entitled. Some weren’t even enrolled when they got refunds, prosecutors said.

The sisters got between half and two-thirds of each payment.

It said Alexander received eight refunds totaling $45,482.65 from 2014 through 2016 and Perry received seven refunds totaling $49,524.65 from 2015 through 2016.

Perry, 36, was sentenced in December to five years of supervised probation and was ordered to repay all of the money she was paid under the scheme. Alexander’s sentencing is scheduled March 22 and Williams’ has not been set, prosecutors said.

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