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Press Release

Former Beaumont ISD Employees Sentenced for Stealing over $4 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

     BEAUMONT, Texas – The former Director of Finance and Comptroller of the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) have been sentenced to federal prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Devin Wayne McCraney, 35, of Beaumont, pleaded guilty on Apr. 14, 2014, to the charge of fraud upon programs receiving federal funds and was sentenced to 68 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

Sharika Baksh Allison, 43, of Beaumont, pleaded guilty on Apr. 14, 2014, to the charge of conspiracy to commit fraud upon programs receiving federal funds and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison today by Judge Clark.

McCraney and Allison were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,041,705.27.

According to information presented in court, McCraney, Director of Finance for BISD, and Allison, Comptroller for BISD, devised schemes in which they embezzled over $4 million from BISD.  They were indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 8, 2014.

“These punishments demonstrate that if you violate the public trust, being the true will of the citizens of Beaumont to have and maintain a responsible public school system, you will be punished,” said U.S. Attorney Bales.  “The Beaumont school district enjoys many good, dedicated educators and employees.  This is the beginning of the end for those who chose to breach our trust, and it also begins the removal of the cloud that remains over the heads of those great employees who, on a daily basis, are responsible for the care and education of Beaumont’s children.”

“These defendants knowingly and willfully abused their position of trust to steal education funds that were supposed to be used to provide services for the most innocent of victims – school children.  That is unacceptable,” said Neil Sanchez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s South Central Regional Office.  “I’m proud of the work of OIG Special Agents and our law enforcement colleagues for holding these individuals accountable for their criminal actions.”

"Personal greed put the children of BISD at risk, and eroded the public's trust in our system," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner.  "Let today's sentences help restore that trust and remind others that our elected and appointed officials must and will be held accountable at all levels of government.  We cannot do this job alone, and we encourage individuals with information about public corruption to come forward."

“Today’s sentencings are just one step in the process of holding certain officials accountable for breaching the public’s trust,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Cory Crenshaw.  “Today’s results are another example of the task force’s cooperative - federal, state and local law enforcement - efforts to investigate corruption within the BISD.   Our mission, of identifying those who have failed to uphold their duty to the children of this community by committing fraud, will continue.  Those who have committed crimes will be punished, and confidence in our school district will be rebuilt.”

McCraney and Allison were both ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons unit where they will be assigned by 2:00 pm on Oct. 21, 2014.  McCraney requested a facility close to West Lake, LA.  Allison requested the facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas, as it is the only federal facility housing women in Texas.

This case was prosecuted as part of the Joint Task Force established in March 2014 between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute major crimes – more specifically, violent crime and crimes related to the abuse of public trust in Jefferson County, Texas.

If you have any information related to this matter, please call the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 409-832-8571.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher T. Tortorice and Joseph R. Batte.

Updated March 19, 2015