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Former Georgia Department of Education Employee and Relatives Plead Guilty to Fraudulently Billing the State

PRESS ADVISORY

Former Georgia Department of Education Employee and Relatives Plead Guilty to Fraudulently Billing the State

April 13, 2011

A former Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) employee and two relatives pled guilty yesterday to two counts of Conspiracy to Commit False Statements and Writings (O.C.G.A. §§ 16-4-8 & 16-10-20) before Judge Robert S. Reeves in Emmanuel County Superior Court.

From 2005 to 2007, Vickie Lindsey served as the program director of the GDOE’s Academic Coach program. In that capacity she was responsible for approving payments to various persons who worked for the Academic Coach program. The Oconee Regional Educational Service Agency (Oconee RESA) administered the payments and hired Miranda Tanner, Lindsey’s niece, to work as her assistant.

Investigation revealed that in June 2007, the Oconee RESA received two invoices from Lee Irrigation, a business owned by Jon Lee, Tanner’s husband at the time. The invoices claimed the business was owed a total of $8,996.00 for a variety of work performed and that the invoices had been signed and approved by Lindsey. Lindsey was later fired, and after conducting a review, the Department of Audits discovered that Lindsey and Tanner had conspired to prepare the fraudulent invoices and that Lee Irrigation had not performed the work stated in the invoices. 

Lindsey, Tanner and Lee, who were allowed First Offender Treatment, were sentenced to three years probation, a fine of $1,000.00 and joint and several restitution in the amount of $8,996.00.

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier prosecuted the Defendants on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Alan Abercrombie of the Georgia Department of Audits.