SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A former comptroller at Bossier Parish Community College will spend the next five years behind bars in a federal penitentiary, after being convicted of being the mastermind of a scheme that bilked the school out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Alex Van Hook, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.
In addition to five years in prison, Carol Bates, who in July 2020 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced to three years of supervised after her prison sentenced is completed, and to pay $286,987.08 in restitution by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr.
In the beginning it was believed the group made off with more than $250,000, and as more figures emerged, the amount was upped to around $260,000, before the final tally showed nearly $287,000.
On June 26, 2019, a federal grand jury handed down an indictment charging Bates and two of her co-defendants, Faith Alexander and Marquise Perry with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 12 counts of wire fraud. Then, on Sept. 25, 2019, a superceding indictment that included the first three defendants and added Bates’ sister, Audrey Williams.
At the July 20 hearing when Bates pleaded guilty, she admitted that from 2013 to 2016, she used her position as comptroller of BPCC to access an internal BPCC computer database and make entries falsely showing individuals were due refunds by the school.
These individuals were not qualified to receive the funds, and, in most cases, they were not even attending BPCC during the semesters they received the money.
As a part of the scheme, Bates and her sister, Audrey Williams, recruited Faith Alexander and Marquise Perry, along with seven other individuals to receive fraudulent refunds from BPCC.
Once the individual received the funds, they were instructed to deliver between one-half and two-thirds of the money to Carol Bates or her sister, Audrey Williams.
In total, Bates caused 45 fraudulent refunds totaling $286,987.08 to be issued to nine individuals.
Alexander received eight refunds totaling $45,482.65 from 2014 through 2016.
Perry received seven refunds totaling $49,524.65 from 2015 through 2016.
The remaining 30 refunds were issued to seven other individuals who, after receiving the money, transferred two-thirds or half of it to Bates.
Marquise Perry, 36, on Dec. 9, 2019, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He was sentenced to five years probation on Dec. 11, 2020 and ordered to pay $49,524.65 in restitution.
The sentencing hearing for Faith Alexander, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Feb. 6, 2020, is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. on March 22.
The sentencing hearing for Audrey Williams, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on July 21, 2020, has not yet been set.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the Louisiana Office of State Inspector General, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg prosecuted the case.