Several Limestone County school officials were sentenced this week in a multi-million dollar scheme that defrauded the state.
Gregory Corkren, David Tutt, Thomas Sisk and William Holladay were among Limestone County Education officials indicted in April of 2021 for their participation in a conspiracy to defraud the state of education dollars.
Other conspirators are currently being tried for their involvement in the same scheme.
The convicted men were superintendents of the Athens City Schools (ACS) district and the Limestone County Schools district who worked together to fraudulently receive state funds for kids who were not attending public schools from 2016-2018.
The cohort reported students who attended private schools as virtual public students in their respective school districts. The result was that districts received payments from Alabama’s Education Trust Fund.
Conspirators obtained information from the private schools by offering benefits, including payments, computers and access to online resources.
“During his plea hearing, Sisk admitted that, in 2016, his co-defendant, William L. 'Trey' Holladay, III, then the superintendent of neighboring ACS, suggested that Sisk could obtain more students for his virtual school by contracting with a company owned by Holladay’s friend, Corkren,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama stated in April 2021. “Sisk admitted that he and Holladay were trying to add students to their enrollments to offset local tax revenue that was being lost to neighboring school districts.”
The amount owed by all of the co-conspirators to the Department of Education is over $5.7 million. The courts will order restitution in the form of fines against all those convicted.
Holladay, who was described as the mastermind of the scheme through the court proceedings, was sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison with three years of probation, according to court documents. He was also ordered to pay 50% of the restitution.
Court documents also state that Sisk was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Wednesday, followed by three years probation. He was ordered to pay less than 1% of the owed restitution.
Tutt was sentenced to two years in prison with three years of supervised release after his time in prison. Additionally, he was ordered to pay 10% of the restitution.
Corkren was sentenced to 22 months in prison with three years of probation and was ordered to pay 25% of the restitution.
All men must report to the Alabama Department of Corrections to begin their sentences by Sept. 1.
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