UNITED STATES NEWS

University official gets prison for defrauding school

Apr 27, 2023, 1:48 PM

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida college administrator has been sentenced to one year and three months in federal prison for defrauding the school out of $155,000 during a website redesign project.

Brian Carroll, 47, of New Market, Tennessee, was sentenced Monday in Tampa federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in January to felony wire fraud. Carroll must also forfeit proceeds from the crime and pay restitution.

According to court documents, Carroll was serving as the executive vice president of Southeastern University in 2016 when he became involved in a project to redesign the website and digital brand of the university’s President. The private university is located in Lakeland, Florida, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Tampa.

Carroll set up an anonymous limited liability company based in New Mexico without the knowledge of other Southeastern University officials and then used that company to bid to the university to perform the web rebranding project for a total price of $185,000, prosecutors said. The school accepted the bid with Carroll’s recommendation, and the university made five payments to Carroll’s company over several months in late 2016, officials said.

Unbeknownst to university officials, Carroll’s company contracted with an unrelated New York-based company to do the actual work on the project for just $30,000, leaving Carroll with the remaining $155,000, investigators said.

A sealed indictment was returned against Carroll in August 2021, and he was arrested three months later.

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University official gets prison for defrauding school