Local News

Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Wake School Fraud Case

Posted February 9, 2007 10:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2007 10:25 p.m. EST

— 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