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Two Former Wake School Employees Plead Guilty In Fraud Case

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two more suspects in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving the Wake County Public School System's transportation department pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that they were connected to the case.

Angela Malloy-Sanders and Pam Stewart were indicted earlier this month on charges of accessory after the fact for their involvement in a scheme to siphon millions of dollars in school money with orders for fake parts.

According to Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, Malloy-Sanders and Stewart were not controlling the scheme, but knew about it because they worked for other former employees implicated in the crime.

Malloy-Sanders reported to Vern Hatley, the former department head, who pleaded guilty last month; Stewart was an administrative assistant to Carol Finch, a former budget analyst, whose case is still pending.

Investigators contend the Malloy-Sanders and Stewart received tens of thousands of dollars in money and gifts because their bosses wanted to keep them happy and quiet.

"It probably began innocently with a gift card or a present and the added benefit, the cumulative effect, was significant," said Eric Chasse, Stewart's attorney.

Both admit they tried to cover up the scheme when school officials asked questions.

"She was a peripheral player," says Robert Nunley, referring to his client, Malloy-Sanders.

As part of a plea deal, Stewart will spend 60 days in jail with probation; Sanders gets nearly two years behind bars. Both women also agreed to each pay back $40,000 for gifts they received.

Hatley, as well as two former managers of Barnes Motor & Parts -- Bobby Browder and Connie Capps -- accepted plea deals that would put them in prison for five to seven years.

Other arrests are possible, and despite all the plea deals, so are trials for two key suspected players, including Finch and Capps' boyfriend, Harold Estes, who says he is not guilty of charges of conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretenses.

"I'm not sure yet if there will be additional indictments/ We'll know before too long," Willoughby said.

Sentencing in all the plea deals will come at a later date because Willoughby said they hinge on the defendants' cooperation in potential trials.

Investigators found thousands of fake orders for parts totaling $3.8 million from June 2003 and 2004. The school system has recovered about $2 million. Authorities said the illegal activity does not extend outside the transportation department.


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