A Georgia man and his business were sentenced for defrauding a Georgia county school dsitrict.
Isaac J. Culver III, age 48, was sentenced Thursday for his involvement in a complex, multi-million dollar computer purchasing scheme defrauding taxpayers and the Bibb County School District, announced United States Attorney Charles E. Peeler.
Following a nine-day trial in July, Issac Culver Lizella, Georgia, and his corporation, Progressive Consulting Technologies, Inc. (PCTI) were found guilty by a jury of his peers for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, ten (10) counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity. The Honorable Marc Treadwell sentenced Mr. Culver to 87 months in prison and three years supervised release with PCTI sentenced to five years probation and a $500,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.
The charges against Mr. Culver, President and Chief Executive Officer of PCTI, stem from the sale of 15,000 NComputing devices for $3.7 million to upgrade classroom technology for the Bibb County School District (BCSD) in 2012.
Mr. Culver helped to create a fraudulent invoice listing CompTech, a technology company from Dayton, Ohio, as the vendor. Instead, the true purchaser of the NComputing devices was PCTI. As delivered, the devices were useless. The devices did not contain the necessary equipment to be functional (i.e. mouse, keyboard, monitor, servers, etc.).
Mr. Culver led others to believe that the purchase of NComputing devices was made pursuant to the General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule. CompTech understood this to be why PCTI asked them to participate in this transaction. The BCSD employees also believed that this was a GSA purchase, which meant that the transaction did not have to go through normal bidding procedures. In reality, this transaction was not made pursuant to the GSA.
After the December 2012 sale, Mr. Culver hid the fact that PCTI was the true purchaser of the NComputing devices and he did so by continuing to use CompTech to disguise his role. Mr. Culver did so, in part, because he and PCTI were able to net almost $2 million on the NComputing transaction alone. Based on other statements and actions taken by Mr. Culver, there was evidence that they planned to buy these other goods, again using CompTech as a pass through, to continue to profit secretly.
“Bibb County students are the ones who ultimately lost the most due to this multi-million dollar theft of taxpayer money. Instead of being used to enhance the education of Bibb County students, the Defendant used the money to enrich himself,” said Charles E. Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “The sentence imposed against Mr. Culver sends a strong message that fraud against the government will not be tolerated in Bibb County. I would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Georgia Office of the Attorney General, and our trial team for their hard work in this matter.”
“The greed that drove Isaac Culver caused irreparable harm to the company he worked for, the citizens of Bibb County, and most importantly the students who were deprived of much needed tools to further their education,” according to Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office. “Now he will pay for that greed with this sentencing and hopefully be a lesson to others who may be tempted to take advantage of our citizens.”
“Culver made a decision to focus on his personal financial gain by taking money from innocent school children in an effort to enrich himself,” said James E. Dorsey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS – Criminal Investigation. “In choosing greed, Culver will spend time in jail for his unethical actions. IRS-CI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in cleaning up this type of fraud and greed.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth Howard and Danial Bennett are prosecuting the case for the Government with participation and cooperation of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David McLaughlin from the Georgia Office of the Attorney General.