Plea For DPS Director Who Schemed To Reap $1.3M For Tutoring Never Provided

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A woman who retired from Detroit Public Schools after nearly 40 years has pleaded guilty to fraud in a scheme to reap nearly $1.3 million for tutoring services that weren’t provided.

Carolyn Starkey Darden told a judge Wednesday that she had served hundreds of students, but she also admitted to submitting “false and exaggerated” billings over seven years.

Federal agents trying to recover money have identified nearly $1 million in a variety of accounts linked to Darden.

Defense lawyer Gerald Evelyn says it’s a “sad conclusion” to Darden’s long career at the Detroit district. She retired in 2005 as director of grant development. She’ll be sentenced on Oct. 28.

Separately, a dozen former or current Detroit principals were charged with accepting kickbacks from a contractor.

At the center of that case is 74-year-old Franklin resident Norman Shy, owner of Allstate Sales, a DPS vendor of school supplies.

According to court filings released ahead of the announcement in March, a total of 13 DPS principals — including one who also worked as an administrator — allegedly conspired with Shy in a scheme to line their own pockets by submitting invoices for supplies that the schools were never to receive. The scheme began in 2002 and continued until January 2015.

One of the principals facing federal charges in a bribery and kickback scheme was the head of a struggling Detroit school that had received $500,000 in donations from Ellen DeGeneres.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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