Highland Park School Board Member Indicted on Theft Charges
Highland Park School Board member Robert Davis was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of federal program theft, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent in Charge, Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
The indictment charges that between 2004 and 2010, Robert Davis, obtained in excess of $125,000 from the Highland Park School District through two schemes in which he used cover companies to facilitate the submission of false invoices to the School District for payment. One scheme involved the submission of false invoices for purchases in excess of $380,000 for advertising on behalf of the School District. The other involved the submission of false invoices in excess of $49,000 for services and expenditures relating to a Saturday educational program for District students. In both schemes, Davis concealed his involvement with the companies whose names appeared on the invoices and concealed the fact that he took a substantial portion of the payments for his own use.
"We are committed to uncovering all forms of public corruption, but stealing from the public is especially egregious when the victims are school children," McQuade said.
Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena stated, "Crimes against our children such as these are not only despicable but also a drain on the entire school system. This indictment should serve as a strong reminder we will vigorously pursue anyone who uses school funds as their personal atm."
Special Agent in Charge Martinez said, "It is a misfortune that individuals are comfortable with stealing from the children of this city. We, as citizens, must not become comfortable or tolerate this greedy behavior. IRS stands jointly dedicated with FBI and the United States Attorney's Office in fighting this area of fraud."
If found guilty of all counts, Davis, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years' incarceration on each of the counts of the indictment.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the FBI led Public Corruption Task Force and the IRS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Pamela Thompson and Sheldon Light of the Public Corruption Unit.