Athens City public school administrator found guilty and school fraud scheme

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - The five people charged in a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme are awaiting their sentencing. However, there is a new civil suit heating up.

WAFF 48 spoke to a Huntsville attorney representing the hundreds of children who had their identities stolen for former Athens educators’ financial gain.

“How the school board allowed this particular superintendent to gain this much power to execute this scheme is concerning,” said Huntsville Attorney Will League.

On Friday, a federal grand jury found Rick Carter guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Carter was the only one not to plea guilty in this case.

However, the other five educators from Athens City Schools, including ringleader former superintendent Trey Holladay, illegally enrolled thousands of private school students in virtual public schools for their financial gain.

Now, League has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of students whose identities were stolen.

“They did not know that they were enrolled in renaissance online school in Athens. These are kids from the blackbelt, southern and middle Alabama. That’s why the co-conspirators used them from private schools down far away from Athens, thinking no one would find out,” said League.

But now, Holladay and his co-conspirators are facing prison time.

In April, former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk, Gregory Corkren, and David Tutt pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. Corkren also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft.

In December, Holladay pleaded to one count of conspiracy. Charges against his wife, Deborah, were dismissed.

“When you talk about an educator, it’s shocking that they would go this length not only to concoct and execute the scheme and then when the state of Alabama was on it they tried to cover it up and then continue the scheme, so basically I want to protect the student’s personal information that is now out there,” said League.

League said students, who had their identities stolen, will testify in court.

Meanwhile, the men behind the multi-million-dollar fraud scheme are awaiting their sentencing. Holladay will have his sentencing first at the end of March. Carter could face up to 20 years in person. His sentencing will be in the summer.

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