LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A federal judge has asked the five defendants accused of conducting a multi-million dollar virtual school fraud scheme to submit a joint plan for sentencing. That plan will include details about repaying the money the government says was stolen.
In February 2021, six education officials were indicted in a scheme where they allegedly defrauded the state of Alabama by claiming private school students in a handful of Alabama Black Belt schools, were enrolled in a virtual Athens City Schools academy.
Four of the five defendants in question, including former Athens-area superintendents Tom Sisk and Trey Holladay have entered guilty pleas.
The fifth defendant, Rick Carter, took his case to trial and was found guilty. He has requested a new trial.
Prosecutors dropped charges against Deborah Holladay who was named in the original indictment.
Documents filed in federal court Wednesday said the public and private schools involved in the scheme may be allowed to seek restitution on their own. However, the defendants will be expected to repay the Alabama State Department of Education.
The amount the defendants will have to pay has yet to be decided. The government argues the court should multiply the number of private school student victims in the alleged scheme by $5,500.
According to the federal filing, that dollar amount is an estimate of the yearly funding paid by the department of education to the school district for each student.
The parties are asking the court for two more weeks to come to a consensus on the issue and to decide whether there should be another hearing for calculating the costs.
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