A former Athens superintendent accused of fraudulently enrolling hundreds of private school students in a public school now is expected to face trial in federal court in February.
Former Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay, one of six defendants indicted on federal charges of conspiracy in the scheme, is charged with conspiracy and 88 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of aggravated identity theft. His wife, Deborah Holladay, and former district planning director Rick Carter also are awaiting trial on conspiracy charges.
Deborah Holladay faces six counts of wire fraud. Carter faces 86 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of aggravated identity theft.
Three defendants in the scheme, including former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk, retired Marengo County football coach David Webb Tutt and Greg Corkren, who ran a company used to obtain public money for inflated enrollment numbers, pleaded guilty in April.
According to a February indictment from federal prosecutors, the scheme to inflate the enrollments of Athens City and Limestone County through virtual school options in order to get additional state funding began in 2015. Holladay allegedly began adding students from private schools around the state to his district’s database.
As the scheme grew, Holladay and Carter, who worked for the school district, began recruiting additional private schools to provide private student information. Prosecutors say they also drew in Sisk and developed a complicated system to use contracts and payments to and from Tutt, Corkren and Deborah Holladay, including falsifying addresses and report cards, to distribute the money and continue to falsify enrollment records.
The two school districts were improperly paid around $7 million in state education funding for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, according to federal officials.
A pretrial conference is set for December, with the trial set for early February.
In a separate civil lawsuit filed in April, students who allege Holladay and others stole their identities are awaiting their day in court in Clarke County.