At least $4 million was diverted from the Wake County Public School System's transportation department in an automotive parts scheme involving then-employees of the school system 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.
The Wake County school system is in the process of recovering about $5 million.
Last month, Harold Estes, the husband of one of the defendants -- Connie Capps, a former manager at Barnes -- was sentenced to 11 to 15 years in prison. He was the only one of the seven suspects to plead not guilty and the only one to go to trial.
Former school system transportation director Vern Hatley did plead not guilty, but in January, requested that his guilty plea be thrown out. A Wake County judge dismissed the motion after a hearing and sentenced him to 7 to 10 years.
The remaining defendants -- Capps, former Barnes manager Bobby Browder, former transportation budget analyst Carol Finch and team leader Pam Stewart -- face sentences that could range from up to 60 days in jail to 40 years in prison.
Former transportation quality control manager Angela Malloy-Sanders will be sentenced at a later date due to health issues.
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