Woman whose company fraudulently billed Detroit Public Schools for almost $1 million sentenced

The former owner of a company that fraudulently billed Detroit Public Schools was sentenced Friday.

Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 71, will spend 18 months in prison for getting almost $1 million in federal grant money from 2005 to 2012 by submitting fraudulent invoices for tutorial services that were never given to students.

She made up records such as test scores and attendance to obtain the money.

When her prison sentence is done, she will spend four months in a halfway house and have 26 months of supervised release.

StarkeyDarden’s sentence was less than the one agreed upon in a plea agreement.

The judge gave her a lesser sentence because of her age and lack of a prior record, as well as her contrition.

StarkeyDarden showed remorse during sentencing, and said she has a moral and human debt to the children of Detroit children that she will repay when she gets out of prison.

The prosecution wanted StarkeyDarden to serve a full two years in prison because of her greed, but DPSCD Inspector General Bernadette Kakooza believed the sentence was enough to deter future crimes.

“Today is justice to the students,” Kakooza said. “Today is a great day for Detroit students.”

Restitution came from the forfeiture of her financial assets, which were seized.

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