The Teacher’s Lucrative and Illegal Side-Hustle

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Hello! It may not seem like it, but I have high regard for school teachers. Just spending all day ‘on stage’ sounds exhausting. And then they teach to different intelligent levels, different learning abilities, different discipline and support levels. Everything is uncontrollable factors influencing the outcome.

It takes a special person to be a teacher. The pay is relatively low, and the reward is short lived as the students move on to the next grade, and the task begins anew.

When a teacher crosses the line, it’s always surprising and disappointing. It makes me think that person should never have been a teacher in the first place. I believe administrators choose to ignore warning signs or in this case clues of wealth.

BLOG POST #108: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving an elementary school teacher.

You Won’t Get Rich On A Teacher’s Salary

The teacher was one of sixteen people who participated in a scheme to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps and WIC – Women, Infant, and Children).

She went into business with two other people; a father and son. Together they owned and operated one of the thirteen ‘pretend’ grocery stores in the scheme.

“The defendant scammed federal food programs, swindled American taxpayers and literally took food out of the mouths of children,” said the U.S. Attorney in a statement.

Living The Good Life

Here’s how the fraud worked: They opened a grocery store, it never had anything in it. The store owners canvased impoverished neighborhoods offering to pay cash for their food stamps and WIC vouchers. They paid $.10-.60 on the dollar. Then they submitted the food stamps and vouchers to the state for reimbursement dollar for dollar – keeping the difference.

Between 2009 and 2011, her store fraudulently processed more than 10,000 cards and vouchers totaling more than 6 million dollars.

In court, her attorney said his client thought it was a legitimate investment opportunity.

And Then It All Came Crashing Down

She was found guilty of conspiring to use interstate wire communications to execute a fraudulent scheme and conspiring to launder money.

The judge sentenced her to 14 years in federal prison and ordered her to pay more than $8 million in restitution. And three years of supervised release after her sentence is served.

Because she was unable to pay the restitution the judge allowed her to make modest payments while incarcerated. She will pay substantially more after her release.

At her sentencing, after the U.S. District Judge had said it was hard for him to understand how someone like her could get involved in such a scheme, he added, “Except for one thing that is true in every fraud case I’ve ever seen — greed.”

She’ll be 54 when she’s released from prison.

Worth mentioning: She submitted a motion with the court to stay the order to garnish her state retirement fund. Her motion was denied.

Also worth mentioning: She made an appeal for a reduced sentenced based on several issues, one issue was the two co-conspirators who were the brains behind the scheme and pleaded guilty were given less than five years in prison. Her original sentence was affirmed.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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One thought on “The Teacher’s Lucrative and Illegal Side-Hustle

  1. “The teacher was one of sixteen people who participated in a scheme to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps and WIC – Women, Infant, and Children).”

    This seems like the saddest part of all–cheating a program designed to help people with real and serious needs. Great post!

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