JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - A former bookkeeper and a college dean have been indicted for allegedly defrauding the state’s Workforce Enhancement Training (WET) program.
According to a news release from Mississippi State Auditor Shad White, Eureda Washington is accused of submitting fraudulent documents to Itawamba Community College (ICC) and getting more than $680,000 in WET funding for a furniture manufacturing company owned by Jennifer and David Schock.
Joe Lowder. Source: Mississippi State Auditor's Office.
David C. Cole Student Services building on the Fulton campus of Itawamba Community College (ICC).
The Schocks also received demand letters from the state auditor. However, they do not face criminal charges.
An $864,918.72 demand was issued to Washington and the Schocks.
Joe Lowder, a former dean at ICC, allegedly manufactured fraudulent documents meant to obscure a double-billing scheme. He received a $12,818 demand letter.
ICC also received demand letters.
According to White's news release, the college paid a large amount of WET funds to a private company without ensuring program requirements had been met.
The college owes more than $1.4 million to taxpayers, per the news release.
ICC issued the following statement Monday afternoon.
"For over two years, Itawamba Community College has fully cooperated with and has been incredibly responsive to the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office in its investigation. In addition, the College hired a former United States Attorney and a well-respected, regional law firm to conduct an internal investigation into allegations made by the State Auditor. Based upon that internal investigation, the College strongly denies any and all allegations of illegal or improper activity by the institution or its current or former employees. Throughout all of this, ICC has continued to provide unparalleled workforce training pursuant to state law for both our communities and our state. And, ICC will continue to provide such training to our citizens, to assist employers throughout the state, and to be a driver of economic development for all of north Mississippi. Itawamba Community College has long been and remains a leader in workforce development training and looks forward to its day in court in order for the truth to be told, these unfounded allegations be rejected by a jury of its peers, and be exonerated of all charges."