CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story which ran in Friday's Rome News-Tribune incorrectly stated recovered funds returned to Floyd County Schools Wednesday afternoon were all from the proceeds of an auction of seized and forfeited items in a RICO case. Some of the returned funds did come from the auction but not all of it.
Floyd County Schools has received $1,138,007 in recovered funds from a RICO investigation involving decade-long thefts from the system totaling $6.3 million.
The money was returned to the school system through the liquidation of seized and forfeited items connected to the RICO case. According to a news release from the system, the Floyd County Forfeiture Account, held by the Floyd County Police Department, returned $637,510.08 of funds. Local attorney Brian Bojo, the court-appointed receiver, returned $500,496.98.
Some of the returned funds came from an auction of seized and forfeited items held Nov. 18, 2017, at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds. The proceeds received Wednesday afternoon will go into the system’s education local options sales tax account for planned projects.
“The timing couldn’t be better with the security needs of our system, and these funds will help with some of those improvements,” Superintendent John Jackson said in a news release. “It’s a good day for our students and all of Floyd County.”
There have been 13 arrests in the case, including former system maintenance director Derry Richardson. Floyd County police have said more arrests are probable. Those arrested are each charged with inflating and falsifying invoices paid by the school system and violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other crimes.
Floyd County Police Chief Mark Wallace and Maj. Jeff Jones, the two main investigators, delivered a massive case summary to District Attorney Leigh Patterson’s office in early September of last year. At that time, Wallace said it was time for the case to be put in the hands of the court after they followed every lead they had since the investigation opened in October 2014.
The civil case — RICO cases have both criminal and civil components — is ongoing and any disbursements will be delivered to the school system once those settlements are resolved.
On Nov. 2, 2017, the Floyd County Board of Education approved a $2.3 million settlement with Johnson Controls Inc. and these funds are now being put toward upcoming projects. The company is also providing services and equipment for two years, effectively bringing the approximate value of the settlement to $2.7 million, according to the news release.