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Investigative Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2006

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney

District of Kansas
Eric Melgren, U.S. Attorney
1200 Epic Center
Wichita, Kansas 67202

Contact: Jim Cross
Phone: (316) 269-6481
Fax: (316) 269-6420

Two Former Barton County Coaches Placed on Federal Probation

Basketball coach Ryan Wolf was convicted of 4 counts including misapplication of student assistance funds, 2 counts of theft of federal funds and mail fraud. Assistant basketball coach Shane Hawkins was convicted of perjury.

WICHITA, KAN. — Two former Barton County Community College coaches were placed on federal probation Monday. Both had pleaded guilty to charges arising from an investigation of the athletic program at the junior college in Great Bend, Kan.

Ryan Wolf, 33, former head basketball coach at Barton, and Shane Hawkins, 30, former assistant basketball coach at Barton, each were placed on 3 years probation.

"In addition to probation, Mr. Wolf will pay $122,123.35 in restitution, and Mr. Hawkins will pay a fine of $1,500," said U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren. "They also will be required to abide by standard conditions of probation, which include prohibitions against drug use and possession of a firearm and a requirement for regular contact with a probation officer. Any serious violation of the conditions may result in the revocation of their release."

Melgren added: "The government's recommendation of probation in this case reflects the fact that Mr. Wolf cooperated with investigators and testified at trial."

Wolf pleaded guilty in December to one count of misapplication of student assistance funds; two counts of theft of federal funds; and one count of mail fraud. Starting as an assistant basketball coach at Barton in May 1998, Wolf later became head coach, a job he held through 2003. His duties included coaching the men’s basketball team, teaching courses, serving as an academic advisor to student athletes and supervising student athletes participating in the campus and federal work study programs.

Wolf's Plea

In his plea, Wolf admitted that:
  • He prepared a Free Application for Federal Student Assistance falsely representing that Carlton Baker, an 18-year-old resident of Indiana, would have a high school diploma or GED before he enrolled at Barton. In fact, Wolf was aware that Baker did not graduate from high school or obtain a GED prior to attending Barton and therefore did not qualify for assistance. As a result, the U.S. Dept. Of Education processed the form and approved Baker to receive a Pell Grant and federally subsidized student loans. Between July 5, 2000, and June 20, 2001, approximately $6,800 was provided to Barton and Mr. Baker through Pell Grants and federally subsidized student funds.
  • Wolf knowingly caused time sheets to be prepared and submitted for payment falsely representing that student athletes had performed work under the Federal Work Study Program and the campus work study program. As a result, $71,981.75 in campus work study funds and $17,633 in Federal Work Study funds were misapplied.
  • He committed academic fraud. Specifically, he paid Damon Howard to take a GED test offered at Warrent Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., in the name of student athlete Carlton Baker. Howard passed the test in Baker's name, and a GED was issued to Baker and made a part of his academic file. Based on that information, San Jose State University believed that Baker was eligible to enroll and to play NCAA Division I basketball, when in fact he was not eligible. The information also had the effect of representing that Baker was eligible to receive federal student assistance funds, which he was not.

Hawkins Case

In the other case, Hawkins pleaded guilty in March to one count of perjury. In his plea, he admitted that he was called to testify before a federal grand jury in 2004 as part of an investigation by the U.S. Dept. Of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Service concerning allegations that Barton student athletes were receiving student assistance funds that they were not eligible to receive. Appearing before the grand jury June 22, 2004, and being placed under oath, he testified that as far as he knew student athletes at Barton received work study funds only for work actually performed. On June 2, 2005, when he was interviewed again by federal agents, he admitted that he lied when he testified before the grand jury.

Melgren commended the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, for their work on the cases, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett, who prosecuted the cases.


 
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Last Modified: 09/08/2006