Three Midwest City women are charged with making false claims for payment for tutoring Oklahoma City Public Schools students in a federal indictment unsealed Monday.
Rebecca E. Cotton, 42, Patricia R. Burns, 71, and Bobbie J. Dailey, 62, are accused of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by being paid for tutoring sessions that didn't take place, U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats announced.
As part of No Child Left Behind, the U.S. Education Department provided funding for tutoring for students of low-income families at schools designated by the state to need improvement. The Oklahoma City Public Schools offered the tutoring program at U.S. Grant High School and Roosevelt Middle School.
During the 2009-10 school year, Burns and her daughter, Cotton, owned and operated A Plus Academics, and Cotton owned and operated Foundations Tutoring. A Plus and Foundations shared office space at 608 Askew Drive in Midwest City. Both were state-approved tutoring providers contracting with the school district.
Dailey was a counselor at Grant and worked as an A Plus tutor and “liaison” between A Plus and the high school.
The indictment alleges Burns, Cotton and Dailey instructed tutors at Grant to complete and sign student attendance rosters for tutoring sessions that did not take place. It is alleged that Cotton and one of the employees of Foundations instructed tutors at Roosevelt Middle School to complete and sign attendance rosters for tutoring sessions that did not take place.
Burns and Cotton are accused of using the false information to generate invoices, which were submitted to the school district for payment. For the 2009-10 school year, the district paid A Plus $884,548 and paid Foundations $351,621.
The indictment charges Cotton, Burns and Dailey with conspiracy and making false statements. Cotton also is charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.