WorldNow - OKCPS Superintendent Responds To Tutoring Scam Indictments

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NEWS: Crime

OKCPS Superintendent Responds To Tutoring Scam Indictments

OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer is responding to a federal indictment unsealed Monday that alleges three women, including a former school employee, scammed taxpayers out of more than $100,000.

The indictment is the result of a three and a half year investigation.

In a statement, Springer says this all started with an anonymous tip, that led to an internal investigation. Eventually the FBI got involved. Monday, the mother/daughter team prosecutors say masterminded the scheme faced a federal judge for the first time.

8/26/2013 Related Story: 3 MWC Women Charged In Scamming OKC Schools Tutoring Program

According to the indictment, the mother/daughter duo operated two tutoring companies out of a Midwest City Home. Rebecca Cotton and her 71-year-old mother Patricia Burns were contracted to provide tutoring services at US Grant High school, and Roosevelt Middle School.

Federal funds were set aside to pay for the extra help for low income children.

During the school year in question: 2009-2010, the indictment says two companies received $1.2 million dollars for tutoring services.

"If we're going to spend our tax dollars on tutoring services then children need to be tutored," said US Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma Sandy Coats.

But according Coats, that's not was appears to have happened. The company hired teachers to do the tutoring. But prosecutors say in some cases charged the government for more tutoring that was actually done and in others filed paperwork on the behalf of students who were never even in the program.

The school district now confirms the third person indicted, Bobbie Dailey, was a counselor at US Grant.

"The allegation is that these three individuals really coerced these tutors to producing false records, student records as who was at the tutoring, signing the parents' names," said Coats.

In the statement, Superintendent Springer said "The OKCPS Administration does not tolerate fraudulent behavior and stands ready to assist authorities in the investigation and prosecution of any person involved, including OKCPS employees."

Dailey was employed with the school district for nine years before she resigned on October 31, 2010, as the investigation was underway.

A trial date for Rebecca Cotton and Patricia Burns has been set for October.

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