A former Orangeburg public school employee faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the Orangeburg County School District of more than $550,000.
David Cortez Marshall Jr., 30, of Orangeburg pleaded guilty Thursday, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office District of South Carolina.
An FBI investigation found that Marshall, a former media communications specialist, steered district purchases of remote learning classroom cameras to shell companies he created and controlled. Through those companies, fabricated documents, forged signatures and a false identity, Marshall purchased the cameras, then sold them to the school at a substantial markup, according to the release.
Marshall received more than $550,000 in illegal proceeds before his scheme was discovered by other school district employees, who confronted Marshall and contacted the FBI.
“Any time an employee uses a position of trust to steal from their employer, it is inexcusable and wrong,” U.S. Attorney Corey Ellis said in the release. “Here, Marshall’s crime was particularly reprehensible because he stole money, provided by South Carolina taxpayers, from a school district during a pandemic that has already created unprecedent challenges in public education.”
Marshall faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, in addition to restitution, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervision after imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Mary G. Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Marshall after reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brook Andrews prosecuted the case.
“Throughout the pandemic, individuals like Marshall have created schemes and exploited programs designed to aid the public,” said Susan Ferensic, FBI Columbia Special Agent in Charge. “Unfortunately, Marshall misused his position to commit fraud against a school district and line his own pockets.”