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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 18, 2000

United States Attorney
Southern District of Mississippi

SECOND FORMER SHERIFF'S DEPUTY PLEADS GUILTY TO EDUCATION FRAUD CONSPIRACY

BRAD PIGOTT, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, announced that JIMMY W. McKAY, of Gulfport, pled guilty today to conspiracy to defraud a federally funded inmate education program at the Harrison County Jail. McKAY pled guilty before United States District Judge Walter J. Gex, III, in federal district court in Biloxi.

As described in the indictment, during the period relevant to the charges, McKAY served as a Deputy Sheriff with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and an instructor with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. As charged in the indictment, McKay and the other defendants falsely represented that inmates at the Harrison County Jail earned grades as students who had satisfactorily completed the course requirements under the inmate training program. The indictment alleges that McKAY and others prepared false documents, including grade sheets, fraudulently representing that inmates had satisfied the requirements for their courses of instruction, whereas, in truth, during some or all of the period of instruction, a substantial number of these inmates were either not incarcerated at the Harrison County Jail Jail or were assigned to other work areas.

According to the indictment, McKAY participated in a conspiracy to obtain money by fraud in a value of $5.000,00 or more which was under the control of an organization receiving more than $10,000.00 in benefits annually under a Federal program. The conspiracy also involved making and using false writings containing materially false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Education.

Under the inmate program which was funded in part with federal funds, each instructor was required to teach a minimum of ten. students per semester. The areas of instruction, included food preparation, automotive, agricultural business, and welding. McKay served as welding instructor for the program.

The charges against McKay carry a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a period of supervised release of up to three years. The trial of the two remaining defendants, Bruce G. Carver, SR., and Edmund J. Huguet, SR, is scheduled for September 25, 2000.

Assistant United States Attorneys GAINES CLEVELAND and PETER BARRETT are the prosecutors in charge of the case.

Mr. PIGOTT praised the efforts of the United States Department of Education Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their diligent work in the investigation of this case.


 
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Last Modified: 03/03/2005