Four Defendants Sentenced in North Alabama Virtual Education Scheme
This week, four individuals were sentenced to federal prison for their part in a scheme to fraudulently enroll students in Alabama virtual schools, announced the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.
Today, the former superintendent of the Athens City Schools district, William L. (“Trey”) Holladay, III, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,865,948.60 in restitution to Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).
During the same hearing, Gregory (“Greg”) Earl Corkren received a sentence of 22 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay $1,303,514.28 in restitution to ALDSE. Finally, David Webb Tutt was also sentenced today to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.00, plus $258,920.04 in restitution to ALDSE.
Earlier this week, Thomas Michael Sisk, formerly the superintendent of the Limestone County School district, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.00 and restitution in the amount of $13,000.00 to ALDSE. Each defendant will be subject to three years of supervised release after serving his sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
All four defendants had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to fraudulently enroll students in public virtual schools and then falsely reporting those students to ALDSE. As a result of this conduct, districts received payments from Alabama’s Education Trust Fund as if the students actually attended public schools. The various defendants then received, for their own personal use, portions of the state money. The defendants skimmed the state money through direct cash payments and payments to third-party contractors owned by the various co-conspirators. Corkren also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.
In March of this year, another defendant charged in the scheme, William Richard (“Rick”) Carter, Jr., was found guilty after a four-week trial of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Carter’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 3, 2022.