Courts news

Some of the people involved in forfeiture agreements approved by a judge on Monday were unwitting recipients of items or money stolen from the Floyd County School system, said Floyd County Assistant Chief of Police Mark Wallace.

Many of the people who surrendered items in the RICO civil case aren’t facing criminal charges and aren’t suspects in the case, Wallace added.

Once the investigation came to light, he said, several of them stepped forward and voluntarily turned in property or funds they felt may have been part of or were fruits of the multimillion-dollar conspiracy.

In several cases, people who had been doing work for the school system’s former maintenance director Derry Richardson on his properties stepped forward.

“We appreciate that these guys stepped forward and brought it to our attention,” Maj. Jeff Jones said.

While the criminal investigation is ongoing, Jones said, another and possibly more important part was recouping the losses incurred by the school system.

“From day one it was just as important to us to track the money and recoup as much money for the school as make an arrest,” Jones said.

They expect, before it’s all over, that there will be many more forfeiture agreements going through the court, and police expect to make more arrests.

Ten people, including Richardson, have been arrested so far and are charged with violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other crimes.

The suspects are accused of inflating and falsifying invoices paid by the school system.

RICO charges are typically filed against people who use their business or government office as the basis for an illegal operation.