Monticello High School Athletic Director involved in embezzling public funds
Bid-rigging scheme in Monticello schools
The Department of Justice announced the conviction of Monticello High School Athletic Director Fitzgerald Barnes in public a press release Friday. Barnes was involved in a bid-rigging scheme which took place at high schools around the Charlottesville area.
At the United States District court for the Western District of Virginia, the three men involved pled guilty to one count of knowingly embezzling money that belonged to the United States, a federal misdemeanor.
Among the charged were Barnes, David Deane, who is the vice president of Downtown Athletics, and Charles Phillips, the vice president of Maryland sports apparel retailer Team Distributor.
Upon sentencing, Deane was charged with a $1,500 fine. Barnes was charged with a $750 fine and Phillips was charged with a $350 fine.
The three men participated in bid rigging, a type of fraud in which one party is promised a commercial contract, while other bids from fictitious retailers are accepted for the sake of keeping up appearances. The creation of two fictitious companies, which also placed bids, assured that Downtown Athletics would be awarded the contract. Albemarle County policy require three bids from different parties for athletic purchases over $1,000.
The press release states the fraud took place between Aug. 2008 and Aug. 2010.
Multiple times throughout the two-year span, Deane instructed Phillips to submit his own bid, as well as two other falsified bids which were higher than his own from Downtown Athletics.
“When school officials spend taxpayer dollars, they must comply with procurement rules that encourage competition and ensure that schools obtain the best possible price,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in the press release. “These three individuals worked together to circumvent these important procurement regulations by creating dummy bids for athletic apparel and equipment. This case demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring that public funds are responsibly handled.”