February 19, 2016 7:00 AM
Thursday morning Floyd County Police Chief Bill Shiflett reported that the ongoing investigation into the misappropriated funds in the Floyd County School system may exceed more than $3 million.
According to staff reports from the Rome News-Tribune:
In April, Derry Richardson, the now former Floyd County Schools maintenance director, was accused of taking over $600,000 from the system by using fraudulent purchase orders.
Richardson and 17 other defendants named in the civil RICO filing have not been charged criminally, although the Floyd County police have said there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.
So far police have spent over 6,000 man hours on the investigation – which doesn’t include the GBI or FBI involvement in the case, Shiflett said.
“We expect numerous arrests to be made soon.”
Apparently the inflated and false invoices have been going on for the past eight years and may involve more than just the 18 people named in the civil suit.
The RICO statute of 1961 targets organized crime. Among other things it raises the punishment including a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in prison in addition to the forfeiture of all business interests and gains gleaned from the criminal activity. In addition, the case could be re-tried in civil court; plaintiffs allowed to sue for triple damages.
It’s unfortunate that a school system appears so awash in revenue that a $3 million loss could go unnoticed for years.
Read more: Rome News-Tribune