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Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Wake School Fraud Case

Posted February 9, 2007

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— The state Court of Appeals said Friday that it will hear arguments next month on a defendant’s request to change his guilty plea in a fraud scheme that cost the Wake County Public School System more than $5 million.

Vern Hatley, former director of the school system’s transportation department, is appealing a judge's decision not to let him withdraw a guilty plea and go to trial.

Hatley was sentenced in February to seven to 10 years. He had pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2005, to charges of conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretense.

Under his plea deal, which was contingent on his cooperation in the fraud investigation, Hatley could have received five to six years in prison.

In February, Hatley testified that he accepted the plea deal to spare his family and the Wake County school system further embarrassment.

Hatley had admitted to accepting nearly $23,000 worth of items, including $11,000 in gift cards, from Wilson-based automotive suppliers Barnes Motors & Parts

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  • GIGATT Feb 10, 2007

    He personally benefited from money that was supposed to go to our schools and children. He has waisted our hard earned tax dollars in his admitted scam, his trial (which should be the final word on that!) and now he wants to redo his plea for what? Does he think he might get a lesser sentence if he changes his plea? And we should pay to help him do this when he's already admitted his guilt? Do the tax payers (the ones who were ripped out here) get a say so or just the criminals? Outragious!

  • superman Feb 10, 2007

    He accepted the guilty pea so he could "spare his family and the school system" So his family has disappeared from the planet-- and the last I heard the school system was still around? I hope if insists going to trial they will give him a longer sentence that what his first one was.

  • clackymcsplatter Feb 10, 2007

    the eyes of a liar