Athens City Schools puts employee on administrative leave after federal fraud, more indictments

Stay with WAAY 31 for updates

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 12:45 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2021 7:24 PM

Athens City Schools put an employee on administrative leave after federal fraud.

Athens City Schools Superintendent Beth Patton released a statement Wednesday on the federal indictment of former superintendent Trey Holladay, his wife Deborah Holladay, Athens schools employee Dr. Rick Carter, and three others.

Dr. Rick Carter

Dr. Rick Carter was one of six people who was federally indicted. He is accused of being part of a scheme to steal around $7 million in state and federal education funds.

Carter was serving as the district's executive director of planning. However, during the time of the accused crime in the 2016-2017 school year, he served as the coordinator of virtual programs, director of innovative programs and executive director of innovative programs at Athens City Schools.

Carter will be paid during his administrative leave because of the tenure law. His annual salary is $122,766.

Athens City Schools will hold a special called board meeting Thursday morning to address the indictment. That meeting is open to the public.

WAAY 31 will be in attendance and will keep bringing you the latest updates both on air and online.

Patton said Carter is on administrative leave until further notice.

Here’s her full statement, followed by more information on the accused crimes.

The Athens City Schools community is shocked and very concerned to read Tuesday’s release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Over the past months, Athens City Schools has fully cooperated with the Department of Justice as its investigation proceeded.

The school system will continue to work with federal officials and the Alabama State Department of Education as the matter proceeds in court.

School officials have not discussed this matter at the request of federal officials, and will continue to refrain from discussing it.

Upon reviewing the allegations against Dr. Rick Carter, Athens City Schools has placed him on administrative leave until further notice.

None of the other individuals charged in the indictment remain affiliated with Athens City Schools in any manner.

From earlier:

The former superintendents of the Athens City and Limestone County school systems and four others have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

Charged are:

* Trey Holladay, former Athens City Schools superintendent;

* Deborah Holladay, wife of Trey Holladay and former Athens City schools teacher;

* Tom Sisk, former Limestone County Schools superintendent;

* William Richard Carter Jr., former Athens High School principal, as well as other leadership positions in the school system;

* Gregory Earl Corkren, retired educator and friend of Trey Holladay;

* David Webb Tutt, former Marengo Academy football coach and friend of Trey Holladay

All six are charged with conspiracy.

Trey Holladay, Deborah Holladay and Carter are linked to as many as 90 counts of wire fraud.

Trey Holladay and Carter are linked to more than 30 identity theft charges. Corkren faces one of those charges.

According to the indictment, “It was a purpose of the conspiracy for (the five defendants) to obtain, directly and indirectly, for their own personal use, portions of the increased revenue generated for (Athens City Schools, Limestone County Schools and Conecuh County Schools) by the fraudulent enrollment of private school students in the ACS, LCS, and CCS virtual schools.

Trey Holladay was fired in October. He was placed on administrative leave in June 2020 after FBI agents went to his home as part of an investigation.

Sisk left the Limestone County School System in September 2019 for a job in Bristol, Tenn.

In a statement sent to WAAY 31 by a Montgomery law firm, Trey and Deborah Holladay said: "We are a family of teachers and coaches. There is absolutely no way that we would do anything detrimental to the school system. The charges against us are unfounded and will be vigorously defended. We appreciate so much the overwhelming support from our friends and community."

Limestone County Schools response:

On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, Limestone County Schools learned it was mentioned in an indictment for involvement with a virtual school program during the 2016-2017 school year.

While the school system was mentioned in the indictment brought in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the indictment does not name the Limestone County Board of Education or anyone currently involved with Limestone County Schools as defendants. In fact, as mentioned during the Justice Department’s press conference, the indictment does not include any current Limestone County School employees.

Moving forward, we will be a transparent and accountable school system which provides the best educational experience we can for our students.

Stay with WAAY 31 for updates

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