Convicted Alabama school administrator seeks new trial for fraud

Alabama school administrator convicted of seven counts related to his role in fraudulently enrolling private school students as public virtual school students has requested a new trial .

William Richard “Rick” Carter was convicted on March 18 of federal charges in a scheme that defrauded Alabama public schools of approximately $10 million, prosecutors say. The verdict came after nearly four weeks of testimony.

Carter, who worked in schools in the city of Athens, faces up to 20 years in prison, a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for each case of aggravated identity theft and monetary penalties and restitution.

In a motion filed March 31, Carter’s attorneys say he should have a new trial because the evidence presented at the trial does not support Carter’s conviction. They are asking for a new trial on the seven counts of which he was found guilty.

In the motion, Carter’s attorneys argued that Carter was unaware of the fraud that was occurring while he was altering records and adding students to Athens city school rosters: “Dr. Carter was like a repetitive, unwilling mule in a drug trafficking case who received no money for his task and his risk because he did not realize he was assisting in criminal activity,” the lawyers wrote. Carter.

In response to the motion, attorneys for the US Department of Justice argued that the convictions should stand.

Carter was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, four counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated impersonation. He was acquitted of the other 75 counts of wire fraud and the jury was unable to rule on 32 of the counts of aggravated identity theft. Additional charges of aggravated identity theft were dismissed according to court filings.

He is due to be sentenced on June 30.

Carter was one of six people charged in January 2021 with fraudulently enrolling hundreds of private school students as full-time public school students in Athens and Limestone County between 2016 and 2018.

All defendants initially pleaded not guilty. In April, three defendants – 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, former Athens Superintendent Trey Holladay pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. Charges against his wife, Deborah, were dismissed.

Sisk and Tutt will be sentenced on May 11. Holladay and Corkren will be sentenced on June 2.

Holladay, Sisk, Corkren and Tutt each face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Corkren faces an additional two years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the aggravated identity theft charge.

Discussions regarding restitution are also ongoing, indicated by an April 12 court filing, but the actual amount of restitution and the distribution of liability have not been determined.

Martha K. Merrill