Local News

Another Wake School Transportation Employee Pleads Guilty In Fraud Case

Posted December 13, 2005
Updated December 31, 2006

— Carol Finch and other former employees with the Wake County schools' transportation department say they diverted at least $3.8 million from 2001 to 2004 for unauthorized supplies and things for themselves. On Tuesday, Finch pleaded guilty for her part in the plan.

For months, Finch refused to cooperate and was arrested this summer when authorities say she was still out spending thousands of dollars in school system money.

In Finch's case, the money went toward cars, a house, a boat, golf carts and thousands of dollars in gift cards. As a budget analyst for the school's transportation department, she helped draw up orders for fake parts from Barnes Motor and Parts.

The money that was paid to Barnes was kept in an account for a group of transportation employees and Barnes managers to draw from. Although investigators say it mostly happened at the end of the fiscal year, WRAL found invoices that prove it was happening year-round.

Former Transportation Director Vern Hatley and two other office workers, along with two Barnes managers, have already pleaded guilty.

Finch and her attorney would not comment about the case and the District Attorney is saving some of what he has to say for a later date. Finch is out of jail on bond after spending three months behind bars.

Unlike the other plea deals, Finch would not agree to a recommended period of time behind bars so she may get more jail time than the others involved in the scandal.

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