Testimony Backs Prosecutors' Claims

Two witnesses testified Tuesday that former Harrison County Sheriff's Deputies Bruce Carver and Eddie Huguet submitted false grade sheets while they were instructors in a federally funded inmate vo-tech program. And government prosectors called the men's former boss, Sheriff Joe Price, a co-conspirator in the case. Prosectutors allege that Price knew nearly ten years ago that there were violations with the program administered by his department and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The government says Price did nothing to correct the problems.

Carver and Huguet are charged with conspiracy to defraud the government of the 3-hundred thousand dollars it took to run the program each year. And they are accused of falsifying grade sheets to show that inmates successfully completed classes that they never took. Deputy Mark McGowan identified a 1993 grade sheet Huguet signed that shows Huguet gave passing grades to four inmates. Another document shows those same inmates were either not in the automotive class or were there for only a few days.

Former food service instructor Sanda Fulcher admitted on the stand that Bruce Carver instructed her to falsify grade sheets for classes she never taught to keep the enrollment numbers up. Fulcher says she questioned Carver about the program. Fulcher says "I asked him if we would ever be able to have classes and he said no. He told me not to question it, that I was to do my thing in the kitchen. He told me to run my stuff in the kitchen because I didn't run things in his office."

Prosecutors had no comment when asked why  Joe Price wasn't indicted if they consider him a co-conspirator Price won't comment either because he's been subpoened as a defense witness.

The trial is expected to last two weeks in federal court in Biloxi.