The former Director of Finance and Comptroller of the Beaumont Independent School District pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges.
According to a news release issued by the office of U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Devin Wayne McCraney, 35, of Beaumont, pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud upon programs receiving federal funds before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.
Sharika Baksh Allison, 43, of Beaumont, pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit fraud upon programs receiving federal funds before Judge Clark.
According to information presented in court, McCraney, Director of Finance for BISD, and Allison, Comptroller for BISD, devised schemes in which they embezzled over $4 million from BISD. McCraney and Allison were indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 8, 2014.
"The guilty pleas are an important milestone, not just for the Government and the Defendants, but for citizens of Beaumont, said U.S. Attorney Bales.
"Lately, much of the news coming from BISD has been disappointing but its mission to educate Beaumont's children remains critically important. The joint task force will continue to diligently work to insure that individuals who are ripping off BISD and impugning both the mission, and the many good public servants who are committed to that mission, are held accountable,"said Bales.
"These defendants knowingly and willfully abused their position of trust to steal education funds that were supposed to be used to provide services for the most innocent of victims – school children. That is unacceptable," said Neil Sanchez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General's South Central Regional Office.
"The admission of guilt today by these defendants is one more step in the process of restoring the public's faith and belief in law and order in our community," said Jefferson County District Attorney Cory Crenshaw.
McCraney faces up to 10 years in federal prison and restitution of $4,041,705.27. Allison faces up to 5 years in federal prison and restitution of up to $1,351,983.11. Sentencing dates have not been set.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the Joint Task Force established in March 2014 between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute major crimes – more specifically, violent crime and crimes related to the abuse of public trust in Jefferson County, Texas.