09/07/12 — Four sentenced to prison time

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Four sentenced to prison time

By From staff reports
Published in News on September 7, 2012 1:46 PM

NEW BERN -- The four people who pleaded guilty in a bid-rigging and bribery scheme involving Wayne County Public Schools were sentenced Thursday in federal court in New Bern.

Pamela Carol Turner, 46, of Selma, was sentenced to 20 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised probation. David Lee Tedder Sr., 51, of Kenly, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation. Ms. Turner and Tedder, formerly husband and wife, operated All American Roofing and Construction.

Also sentenced were Danny Lee Langley, the school system's former director of maintenance, and Earl Wayne Rhodes, the former assistant director. Rhodes, 58, of Pikeville, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation. Langley, 54, of Snow Hill was sentenced to 84 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.

Tedder, Rhodes and Langley also were ordered to pay the school system $124,074.38 in restitution.

According to a release from U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker, All American placed a number of bids for roofing contracts with Langley and Rhodes at the school system between 2002 and 2009. Tedder then would offer kickbacks to the pair in exchange for help securing those contracts.

In the release, Walker noted that during the 2002-03 school year, Wayne County Public Schools paid only 3 percent of its roofing funds ($2,400) to All American, but that by the 2004-05 school year, All American was receiving 61 percent of all roofing funds paid by the schools. Then, he continued, by the 2007-08 school year, that percentage had increased again to 95 percent of all roofing funds -- for a total of more than $500,000.

According to the release, between 2002 and 2009, the total monetary amount of contracts steered to All American by Langley and Rhodes exceeded $2 million.

Then in 2009, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office received a tip regarding bid rigging by All American and the school system. The FBI and the IRS the became involved in the investigation following a search of All American's offices in June 2009. The case was then turned over to a federal grand jury.

On Sept. 14, 2010, Ms. Turner pleaded guilty to structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements, and aiding and abetting. She also acknowledged that she had systematically broken apart cash withdrawals from her business accounts in order to keep each under $10,000.

On June 14, 2011, Tedder pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

And on Dec. 13, 2011, Rhodes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and Langley pleaded guilty to bribery, and aiding and abetting.

"This was a case about public school officials who accepted hard cash in exchange for awarding more than $2 million in school roofing contracts over seven years. This corruption cheated not only the school system and the children who rely upon it, but every small business owner who played by the rules and put in honest bids. Those who abuse our system of open and honest competition will be held to account for their actions, and this case is a reminder of how serious the consequences can be," Walker said in a written statement.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders added, in that statement that, "Unfortunately, it is ultimately the children of the Wayne County Public School System who suffer from these crimes."