Employee who defrauded school district of half-a-million dollars during pandemic pleads guilty

A former employee of the Orangeburg County School District pleaded guilty to defrauding the...
A former employee of the Orangeburg County School District pleaded guilty to defrauding the district of more than $550,000.((Source: WIS))
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:20 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A former employee of the Orangeburg County School District pleaded guilty to defrauding the district of more than $550,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that 30-year-old David Cortez Marshall, Jr. of Orangeburg pleaded guilty on Thursday.

According to authorities, Marshall who was a former media communications specialist for the district, created a scheme to defraud the district while purchasing remote learning cameras for school classrooms.

Prosecutors said through the use of shell companies, fabricated documents, forged signatures, and a false identity, Marshall steered the district’s purchasing contracts to companies he created and controlled, purchased the cameras, then sold them to the school at a substantial markup.

“Marshall also received funds from the school district for the cameras that he never paid to the seller,” officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “Through his scheme to defraud, Marshall received more than $550,000 in illegal proceeds. His scheme was eventually discovered by other school district employees, who confronted Marshall and reported the matter to the FBI for further investigation.”

Marshall faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for wire fraud, in addition to restitution, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment.

“United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Marshall after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brook Andrews.

“Any time an employee uses a position of trust to steal from their employer, it is inexcusable and wrong. Here, Marshall’s crime was particularly reprehensible because he stole money, provided by South Carolina taxpayers, from a school district during a pandemic that has already created unprecedent challenges in public education,” said United States Attorney Corey Ellis. “I appreciate the work of the FBI in bringing this defendant to justice. This office will continue to prosecute those who try to use the pandemic, or any other circumstance, to enrich themselves at the expense of hard-working taxpayers and critical institutions.”

“Throughout the pandemic, individuals like Marshall have created schemes and exploited programs designed to aid the public,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Columbia Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic. “Unfortunately, Marshall misused his position to commit fraud against a school district and line his own pockets. I’m thankful for the extensive work that was put into investigating this case. Let this serve as a reminder that we will not tolerate this criminal activity, and we will hold those involved accountable.”

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