Hogsett Announces Federal Indictment Of Spencer County School Official
EVANSVILLE – U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced today the filing of federal charges against Melissa Isaacs, age 49, of Spencer County. According to a four count indictment returned by a grand jury this week, Isaacs allegedly used her position with the North Spencer County School Corporation to engage in a four year scheme to defraud Hoosier taxpayers of approximately $63,000 in school funds.
“When Hoosiers steal from Hoosiers, we all lose – no matter if the theft takes place in a back alley or a back office,” Hogsett said. “That is why, together with our law enforcement partners, we are committed to doing all we can to hold accountable those who seek to enrich themselves by embracing a culture of corruption.”
The indictment alleges that Isaacs served as the Extracurricular Treasurer for the North Spencer County School Corporation from June 5, 2007, through February 25, 2013. During that period of time, the defendant collected and distributed funds for a variety of school programs, including school lunches, textbook rental fees, the athletic fund, as well as funds for other extracurricular programs operating within the school system.
Isaacs allegedly used her position to embezzle, steal, and intentionally misapply funds from these programs from July 2009 until February of this year. This included the alleged theft of textbook rental fees, extracurricular funds, school lunch fees, as well as fraudulent claims for compensation. The indictment provides a detailed breakdown of the alleged thefts by year, which include:
2009-10 School Year: $19,368.91
2010-11 School Year: $13,703.74
2011-12 School Year: $12,542.37
2012-13 School Year: $18,241.62
Hogsett said this case was the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Board of Accounts, as well as the Spencer County Prosecutor’s Office. All of these agencies are partners in the U.S. Attorney's Public Integrity Working Group, which was launched in April 2012 with the stated purpose of aggressively investigating allegations of public fraud, waste and abuse by public officials in Indiana. Hoosiers with information on public corruption are encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney's Office at (317) 229-2443.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Bradley A. Blackington, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Isaacs could face up to ten years in federal prison on each count if convicted, as well as significant fines and federally-supervised release at the end of her prison term.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.