Ex-Detroit Schools Official Gets 1 ½ Years In Prison For $1 Million Tutoring Scam

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A woman who retired from the Detroit Public Schools after nearly 40 years has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for a scheme to reap nearly $1.3 million for tutoring services that weren’t provided.

Carolyn Starkey Darden also must serve four months in a halfway house after her release. The 72-year-old — who worked as DPS Director of Grant Development and later a vendor — received her sentence Friday.

Darden says she served hundreds of Detroit students, but she also admits to submitting “false and exaggerated” billings over seven years.

The FBI in 2014 seized multiple bank accounts belonging to Starkey Darden and her husband after launching an investigation in 2011 into their tutoring businesses.

“Everyone invested in the future of Detroit Public Schools should be outraged by the unlawful actions allegedly committed by this individual,” said DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes, at the time the charges were filed.

“The District will remain vigilant in the review and application of its procurement policies and procedures, and make changes as appropriate and necessary as it did recently, to help prevent further fraud.”

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

She created tutoring companies after retiring in 2005 as director of grant development in the Detroit district.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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