Biloxi principal, 2 others arrested on fraud charges connected to educational consulting business
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - New details released Thursday connect a Biloxi principal and two other women to what the State Auditor’s Office is calling a fraudulent education consulting business.
Former Coffeeville School District Superintendent Vivian Robinson and co-conspirators Melissa Nance and Tammy Briggs have been arrested on charges of fraudulent statements/representations, conspiracy, and obtaining an object of value with intent to defraud. Briggs is from Gulfport, and Nance is currently the principal at Nichols Elementary School in Biloxi. Since Wednesday’s arrest, she has been placed on administrative leave.
The three women are accused of creating a business for educational consulting. Investigators say Robinson authorized payments to the fraudulent business while minimal services were performed in order to appear as a legitimate company. The three are accused of working together to draw nearly $45,000 from the Coffeeville School District.
The scheme was discovered during an audit conducted by the Office of the State Auditor’s Compliance Audit Division.
“For the second time in a month, we’ve identified money that should have benefitted public school students that was misspent,” said Auditor Shad White. “We will work with prosecutors in this case to protect the interests of those students and the taxpayers.”
Upon their arrest, the defendants were served with demand letters showing they owe $84,171.06 back to taxpayers. The amount includes interest and investigative expenses.
Nance and Briggs were being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center for authorities in Yalobusha County.
When asked for comment about Nance’s arrest, Biloxi School District Spokeswoman Jennifer Pyron said, “Mrs. Nance is a long-time employee and principal with an excellent record of success in the Biloxi Public School District. As we await the outcome of these allegations, we will continue to cooperate fully with the State Auditor’s Office.”
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