Hamilton County School System officials have reportedly suspended three employees without pay because of their alleged role in a scheme to steal nearly $1 million.
This, according to The Chattanoogan, which reported these employees deny the accusation and remain uncharged.
“The schools did not release the names of the suspended employees, but it was testified in Federal Court on Wednesday that over $800,000 of the loss was based on creams ordered at exorbitant prices billed to the county insurance by county school assistant principal Keitha Booker and his daughter, Sydney Snyder,” the website reported.
“Booker had been serving as athletic director and assistant principal at East Hamilton School up until his suspension. Other cream charges from county school employees at the time of the scam included $32,000 for Kim Womble, a Tyner Academy staff member, and Katrich Williams, a former star basketball player for Tyner, whose charges were over $41,000.”
The Chattanoogan went on to say there were more than $47,000 in cream orders from former Tyner Academy principal Julius Hargrove.
“Amounts submitted to the county schools for cream payment included $450,000 on orders for Ms. Snyder and almost $400,000 on orders for Booker,” according to the paper.
“Prosecutor Perry Piper said Booker’s girlfriend at the time (now wife), Amanda Morgan Booker, made over $100,000 in commissions from recruiting others to order the cream. She was a government witness in the case on Wednesday morning. She said she was introduced to the scam by Wayne Wilkerson, who is one of five defendants standing trial. They worked together at a local med spa. Ms. Booker has not been charged in the case, though some who were recruiters have, including her cousin who she introduced to the lucrative enterprise.”
As The Star reported earlier this year, many people in Hamilton County believe UnifiEd members orchestrated an unsuccessful attempt to add 350 new positions to the county school system, at a cost of $34 million, and at taxpayer expense. As reported, many of those proposed positions were for social workers and new administrators.
Most school board members voted for the plan, but most county commissioners said no. Going along with the plan might have required raising property taxes.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Hamilton County Department of Education” by Hamilton County Schools.