Former BPCC comptroller pleads not guilty to issuing $260K in bogus refunds

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SHREVEPORT, La, (KTAL/KMSS) – A former Bossier Parish Community College comptroller was arraigned in federal court in Shreveport today.

Carol Bates, 48, pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 12 counts of wire fraud in a scheme the U.S. Attorney’s office claims bilked BPCC out of almost $260,000.

In June, a federal grand jury indicted Bates, along with 27-year-old Faith Alexander and 34-year-old Marcus Perry. Alexander and Perry were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Perry also was charged with three counts of wire fraud.

Earlier today, Alexander also pleaded not guilty, but Perry won’t be arraigned until sometime next week.

According to the indictment, Bates used her position as the BPCC comptroller to access an internal computer system and send approximately $259,591.87 in refunds to Alexander, Perry and five others who were not qualified to receive them in 45 different transactions from 2013 to 2016.

The indictment alleges that Perry received seven refunds totaling $49,524.65 and Alexander received eight refunds totaling $45,482.65. The remaining 30 refunds were issued to five unnamed co-conspirators who, after receiving the money, transferred half to two-thirds of it back to Bates.

Today, at Bates’ request, Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby appointed federal public defender Betty Marak to defend Bates.

Hornsby said there is a great deal of discovery (evidence), which will begin rolling out later this week, and set an August 22 deadline for motions to be filed.

A status conference is scheduled for at 2 p.m. on Sept. 6 in Hornsby’s office, at which a trial date will be set. He told Bates that the status conference is among the attorneys and she doesn’t have to be there, but explained that in federal court, the wheels turn very quickly.

Then, he released Bates on a $25,000 unsecured bond, explaining she did not have to pay the $25,000, but it was her “$25,000 promise” to come back to court.

After being processed in the U.S. Marshal’s Office in the federal building, Bates was released on her own reconnaissance.

A conviction of just one count of federal wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

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