1 Year After VCSC FBI Raid, Former Employees Prep For Trial

08 Jun 1 Year After VCSC FBI Raid, Former Employees Prep For Trial

The FBI raided the Vigo County School Corporation offices on June 8, 2016.

Photo: Harrison Wagner

The FBI raided the Vigo County School Corporation offices on June 8, 2016.

One year after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Vigo County School Corporation offices, two former employees are preparing to face federal charges of wire fraud and theft or bribery.

Former Facilities Director Frank Fennell and former Vigo County Sheriff school security liaison Frank Shahadey have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A final pretrial conference is scheduled for October 3, with the trial set to begin October 16 in Terre Haute.

According to FBI investigators, Fennell and Shahadey took thousands of dollars from the school district in a scheme that began in early 2014 and continued until October 2016, even after the FBI raid in June.

According to court documents, Fennell contracted an unnamed business to perform several tree and stump removals, then worked with Shahadey and an employee of that business (referred to as “Individual A”) to inflate the invoices. Once the school district paid the bill, Individual A split the excess with Fennell and Shahadey. Most kickback payments were $500, but some were larger.

In February, Individual A went to police with the information and worked with the FBI to collect proof. FBI agents raided the VCSC offices in June, and questioned Fennell about his potential involvement. The scheme continued even after the raid.

Timeline of Events

January 2014
Business A begins working for VCSC.

April 2014
Fennell directs Individual A to begin inflating invoices so that kickbacks would be made to Fennell and Shahadey.

June 8, 2016
Federal agents execute search warrants at VCSC locations and question Fennell. He denies involvement.

June 15, 2016
Business A received $33,700 check for work completed at Hoosier Prairie prior to June 8, 2016 search warrant.

July 15, 2016
Individual A meets with Shahadey at agent’s direction and tenders $6,000 in kickback payments arising from work completed at Hoosier Prairie, and agreement between Individual A, Fennell and Shahadey to inflate the cost of the work and split the overage.

July 20 – October 28
Fennell hires Business A for two separate jobs to remove trees and stumps at Ouabache Elementary School.

Shahadey directs Business A to inflate the cost and split the coverage 50/50.

October 27, 2016
VCSC funds the jobs, and Individual A receives a VCSC check in the amount of $3,100 as payment. Individual A deposits the check at agent’s direction, and pays Shahadey and Fennell (through Shahadey) $500 each in kickback payments.

October 28, 2016
Individual A pays Fennell a $200 kickback payment in the form of a gift card as instructed by Shahadey.

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