United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Carol Bates, the former comptroller for Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), pled guilty Monday, July 20 before Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr., to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Bates admitted at the plea hearing that from 2013-16, she used her position as comptroller of BPCC to access an internal BPCC computer database and make false entries falsely showing individuals were due refunds by the school. These individuals were not qualified to receive the funds, and, in most cases, they were not even attending BPCC during the semesters they received the money. As a part of the scheme, Bates and her sister, Audrey Williams, recruited Faith Alexander and Marquise Perry, along with seven other individuals to receive fraudulent refunds from BPCC. Once the individual received the funds, they were instructed to deliver between one-half and two-thirds of the money to Bates or Williams.
In total, Bates caused 45 fraudulent refunds totaling $259,591.87 to be issued.
Alexander received eight refunds totaling $45,482.65 from 2014-16.
Perry received seven refunds totaling $49,524.65 from 2015-16.
The remaining 30 refunds were issued to seven other individuals who, after receiving the money, transferred two-thirds or half of it to Bates.
On Sept. 25, 2019, Bates, 49, along with her co-defendants, Faith Alexander, 28, Marquise Perry, 35, and Audrey Williams, 56, all of Shreveport, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition to the conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Bates was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and Perry was charged with three counts of wire fraud.
Alexander pled guilty Feb. 19, 2020, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; Perry pled guilty Dec. 9, 2019, to one count of wire fraud; and Williams entered a not guilty plea Oct. 23, 2019.
Bates faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to one year of supervised release. Sentencing will be set at a later date. Alexander and Perry also face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to one year of supervised release when they are sentenced Sept. 2, 2020.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the Louisiana Office of State Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg is prosecuting the case.