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Update on FBI investigation into BISD
BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence
F.B.I. agents left the Beaumont school administration building late Thursday afternoon with boxes of documents linked to what the superintendent is calling an investigation into "bogus accounts and diverted district funds." The next step is unclear. At some point in the future, the boxes, and the case, will be in the hands of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The Beaumont ISD superintendent says two employees are targets of a federal investigation and he's placed them on administrative leave after F.B.I. agents Thursday raided BISD headquarters and searched the homes of the the BISD Chief Financial Officer and the district's Comptroller.
As KFDM News first reported, F.B.I. agents showed up at the BISD administration building early Thursday morning and began seizing boxes of documents. The F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney's Office confirm its part of an ongoing investigation. According to the district, the investigation is linked to "bogus accounts and diverted district funds."
KFDM News has learned the members of the Inspector General's Office with the U.S. Department of Education were also at the BISD administration building to investigate.
The superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois, says he is not a target of the probe. During a news conference late Thursday, Chargois said there are, in his words, only two known suspects who are under investigation so far.
He says he's placed those two BISD employees on administrative leave as a result of the investigation. The superintendent didn't name the employees, but KFDM reporter Justin Hinton saw two last names on one box of documents agents removed from the administration building-Allison and McCraney.
KFDM News was at the home of Devin McCraney, the BISD Chief Financial Officer, when F.B.I. agents showed up and seized documents. We saw McCraney get out of an SUV and walk inside.
We've also learned agents were at the home of Sharika Allison, the BISD Comptroller.
No charges have been filed in the case.
DeEtta Culbertson with the Texas Education Agency tells KFDM News the probe is unrelated to the TEA investigation into the district. TEA investigators were in the district last week. They said the organization is looking into the district's attendance records, finances, test security, special education program and overall governance, and a second case of possible cheating.
Dr. Chargois spoke to reporters late Thursday afternoon, shortly before F.B.I. agents left the building.
"The community at large can be assured that the misuse of any public funds by any member of our BISD staff will not be tolerated," said Dr. Chargois.
He also characterized the investigation, so far, as limited.
"Be reminded that this investigation is at an extremely limited stage, and let me put all the rumors to rest, that there are no criminal charges or any takeover by any state agency of the district at this time."
Chargois also said the district will work with investigators.
"It is the district's intent to fully cooperate with the investigation and report our findings to the FBI. Again, I reiterate that the district is fully solvent. We will conduct business as usual. We want kids and teachers at school."
Board member Mike Neil spoke with KFDM at the administration building.
"There's no doubt in my mind there's been corruption in the past," said Neil. "Whether or not there's currently corruption, I'm not going to say. But there's no doubt in my mind this is not a correctly run district, especially from a business standpoint."