Decatur man ran $480K scheme involving at-risk students in Virginia

Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd

A DeKalb man pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding a Virginia city of about $480,000 by falsely promising counseling services for at-risk students in public schools. Keith Hayes, of Decatur, also evaded his personal income taxes, according to the Department of Justice.

The 46-year-old man created a business called A World of Possibilities in 2011. Hayes had "a close personal relationship" with someone employed as the city of Hopewell's Comprehensive Services Act coordinator, according to a DOJ press release. The city employee was not named. Hopewell is about 25 miles southeast of Richmond.

The employee reportedly contracted Haye’s business as the service provider for at-risk Hopewell City Public Schools students. The business billed Hopewell for $480,875 worth of counseling services between November 2011 and June 2015, yet didn’t employ counselors or provide services to any Hopewell student, the statement said.

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During this time, Hayes also made $588,000 in income without making any income tax payments, the DOJ statement said. His total tax evasion liability is more than $169,000.

Hayes faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and tax evasion. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 13.

U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea; Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Garnett is prosecuting the case.

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