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BISD says FBI investigation centers on claims of bogus accounts to divert funds; two employees on leave
BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence
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 were also present at the home of the the chief financial officer and the district's comptroller.
Dr. Timothy Chargois says he isn't a target of the investigation.
BISD released a statement about the investigation:
"The District is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding allegations that someone set up bogus accounts and diverted district funds," according to the BISD statement. "It is the district's intent to fully investigate and provide information to the F.B.I. No further comments or statements will be released regarding this matter until the investigation is complete."
KFDM News has learned the F.B.I. is at the Beaumont ISD administration building as part of an ongoing investigation, and sources tell us agents Thursday morning were also at the home of the superintendent, the chief financial officer, and the comptroller of the district. The agents arrived at the administration building early Thursday morning and remained inside through the lunch hour and into the afternoon.
KFDM News has also confirmed representatives from the U.S. Department of Education Inspector General's Office are also on-site at BISD.
KFDM News has several reporters and photographers covering the story. Stay with KFDM News and kfdm.com for updates.
KFDM News talked with spokeswomen for the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney's office Thursday morning.
"F.B.I. personnel are lawfully present at the BISD Administration Building," said Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Houston.
She wouldn't comment beyond that, telling KFDM News "it's part of an ongoing investigation."
Davilyn Walston, Public Information Officer with the U.S. Attorney's Office, released a statement from U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales, confirming an "active investigation involving BISD."
According to the statement, "U.S. Attorney John M. Bales confirms the existence of a law enforcement activity involving the Beaumont Independent School District. The BISD is fully cooperating with authorities. Because this is an ongoing investigation, further comments will not be available."
Sources tell KFDM News agents were also present Thursday morning at the home of BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois, and KFDM News was present when agents searched the home of Devin McCraney, the BISD Chief Financial Officer, and removed documents. McCraney arrived at the home while KFDM News was there. He got out of a car and walked inside without commenting.
Sources also tell KFDM that agents were at the home of Sharika Allison, the BISD Comptroller.
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.
The district has allowed many employees to leave the BISD administration building for lunch while others remain inside while FBI agents continued their investigation.
Stay with KFDM News and kfdm.com for updates.