In March of this year, shocking allegations were made against a Pontiac school administrator involving use of federal and state education funds for personal purchases including furniture, clothes and expensive cars. The alleged offenses took place in 2011, according to news reports. Jumanne Sledge, former head associate superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resources pleaded guilty to defrauding the Pontiac School District of $236,000 last week; he now faces as much as 30 months in jail along with restitution and loss of his Jaguar.
Federal agents obtained a search warrant which was applied for on January 26th. After conducting interviews and pouring over evidence, agents were convinced that Sledge had used funds for various expenditures, including shopping at Macys, Burberry and Saks, and for travel expenses for a trip to Chicago. Sledge also allegedly had an employee of the Pontiac school district write a $236,000 check to a company that he owned, according to investigators. FBI agent Brian C. Max obtained a court order to review Sledge’s investments and bank accounts, a lease agreement for a 2011 Mercedes 450 SUV, and to search his Oakland County condo at the Wabeek Country Club.
In all, Sledge was charged with money laundering and embezzlement, or “program fraud” under federal statutes. News reports allege that Sledge had the employee write the $236,000 check to Leadership Academy. He then purportedly converted the money for his own personal use after issuing a fraudulent invoice, according to U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. The issue was discovered when Darryl Cosby, Pontiac School District Security Chief, discovered that the district’s deficit had doubled in two years’ time after investigating finances at the request of the school board.
Sledge, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, turned himself in to authorities in March, and originally pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Michigan fraud defense attorneys know the serious consequences individuals convicted of such charges face. However, an aggressive, skilled lawyer also knows that these types of charges to not necessarily have to result in conviction and the penalties that apply.
If you have been arrested for money laundering, embezzlement or other crimes involving money, consult with a talented Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately.