WRAL Investigates: Wake schools fraud

WRAL's complete coverage of a fraud scheme involving former employees of the Wake County Public School System's transportation department.

In August 2004, WRAL first reported about a fraud investigation in which at least $4 million was diverted from the Wake County Public School System in an automotive parts scheme involving then-employees of the school system's transportation department and a Wilson-based automotive parts company, Barnes Motors & Parts.

Investigators said the suspects submitted fake orders for auto parts and bought gift cards, trucks, boats, trailers and other high-priced items for themselves.

To date, seven people, including five former school system employees and two former Barnes' employees, have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the fraud scheme. Sentences range from 60 days to 15 years in prison.

The Wake County school system has recovered an estimated $5 million.