Ex-Greenville Schools chief faces 25 years in lockup after kickback plea
Former Greenville Public Schools superintendent Dr. Harvey Andre Franklin, 56, faces 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Friday to receiving kickbacks from the award of a federally funded reading instruction contract.
Franklin pleaded before U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock, in Aberdeen, Mississippi to three counts of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, accepting bribes and kickbacks from a contractor with the Greenville Public School District, and stealing, embezzling, and converting federal funds to his own use.
According to prosecutors Franklin, as superintendent, conspired with Edna Goble, on behalf of Teach Them to Read (TTR), to receive the kickbacks. Under the scheme, Greenville Public Schools would pay Teach Them to Read about $1.4M and in return Goble would make payments to Franklin and various creditors on Franklin’s behalf.
Investigators with the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office and U.S. Department of Education uncovered the illegal arrangement. Assistant U.S. attorneys John Marshall Alexander and Clayton A. Dabbs prosecuted the case.
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said the cheating of Mississippi school children of resources made the scheme especially disturbing.
“Dr. Franklin’s actions directly impacted students in the Greenville Public School System, and he must be held accountable for his actions.” Pickering said.
Franklin is free on a $5,000 bond pending sentencing, which awaits a presentence report. At sentencing, he faces a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison, up to $750,000 in fines, and restitution in the amount of loss.
Yessyka Santana, special agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General Southeastern Regional Office, said it’s clear Franlkin put his own gain ahead of all else.“Today’s action shows that this former school superintendent not only knowingly and willfully abused his position of trust for personal gain, but did so at the expense of the children he promised to serve,” Santana said.