Former Limestone County superintendent strikes deal with prosecutors and will plead guilty

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Former Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay, former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk and four others, including Holladay’s wife, were indicted in an alleged multi-million dollar scheme to defraud the US government in February.

Arraignment hearings are scheduled for three of the six defendants Thursday. Court filings show Sisk, as well as Gregory Corkren and David Tutt, who worked for Marengo Academy in Linden, plan to enter a guilty plea.

This case is complicated. Each person named in the indictment is facing a variety of different charges depending on the level of involvement they’re accused of. Prosecutors say the scheme diverted $5.8 million to Athens City Schools and an attempt was made to send another $1.1 million to Limestone County Schools.

The 50-page indictment says the multi-million-dollar scheme involved fraudulently claiming that private school students who actually attended schools in Alabama’s Black Belt were enrolled full-time at virtual academies in the Athens and Limestone County School Districts. Some of that money was then skimmed for personal use, according to prosecutors.

Tom Sisk and David Tutt each face one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to court documents, they have both reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Gregory Corkren, a long-time friend of Holladay, was charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft for his part in the scheme.

Trey Holladay, his wife Deborah, and Rick Carter, who worked for the Athens City Schools district when he was charged, are also named in the indictment.

Holladay is facing 88 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of aggravated identity theft. Carter is charged with 86 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of aggravated identity theft. And Deborah Holladay is charged with six counts of wire fraud. They have entered not guilty pleas in this case.

Charges laid out in the indictment carry the following penalties:

1.         Conspiracy to defraud the US government: A term of imprisonment of not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or both the fine and imprisonment; a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years; an assessment fee of $100; and an order of restitution.

2.         Wire fraud: A term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both the fine and imprisonment; a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years; an assessment fee of $100; and an order of restitution.

3.          Aggravated identity theft: A sentence of 2 years imprisonment that must be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed under any provision, a fine of not more than $250,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or both the fine and imprisonment; a term of supervised release of not more than 1 year; an assessment fee of $100; and an order of restitution.

News 19 reached out to attorneys representing Sisk, Corkren and Tutt Wednesday. Corken’s attorney did not respond to our request. The attorneys for Sisk and Tutt declined to comment.

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