Felisia Hill of Pahokee, Florida was arrested on Wednesday, March 21 after she allegedly defrauded the Pahokee school district thought a tutoring contract that she had with the district through Glades Extreme Tutoring Inc. Hill has been accused of a total 19 criminal counts: 11 counts of grand theft, six counts of petit theft, one count of tampering with a witness, and one count of organized scheme to defraud.
Hill is currently incarcerated in Palm Beach County Jail. She has not posted the $51,000 bail bond that she was granted. It is not clear whether she has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
According to reports, Hill, 38, is scheduled to take on her new duties as vice mayor of Pahokee on March 27. As she has not been convicted of any crimes at this time, she may still choose to fill the position, which she won last week in local elections. "Right now, she's the only one who knows whether the charges are true or not. My thinking is, if you're innocent, you should defend yourself. If you're guilty, then you should step down and save the city further embarrassment," commented Mayor J.P. Sasser to the press.
Hill is the president of Glades Extreme Tutoring, Inc., which is under fire for fraud. Glades Extreme Tutoring was contracted to provide tutoring to low-income Palm Beach School District students who were struggling in school. However, a school district human resources employee reportedly discovered that Glades Extreme Tutoring was filing for and receiving payment for tutoring students who had never received such services.
The school district and police interviewed all 134 students who were registered for the program. 47 of the students told investigators that they had never received tutoring from the program, which operated out of First United Methodist Church in Pahokee. Furthermore, some of the students told investigators that Hill had told them to lie and say that they had, in fact, attended tutoring sessions. One student told investigators that he or she had received at least $25 from Hill in exchange for going to her home and signing paperwork saying that the student had received tutoring.
Fashara Hill, Felisia Hill's sister, and Brantley Sisnett were both already arrested in connection to the alleged fraud scheme. 27-year-old Hill was arrested on 23 counts of grand theft, three counts of petit theft and organized scheme to defraud on Monday. Fashara, who was listed as the vice president of Glade Extreme Tutoring, is currently free on bond. Sisnett, 29, is also free on bond after he was booked on five counts of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. He is listed as the director of the tutoring company. It is not immediately clear whether either party has retained a criminal defense attorney.
Both Sisnett and Fashara Hill had connections with the Palm Beach school district. Sisnett is currently employed by the Pahokee school district, and Fashara Hill worked at Bear Lakes Middle School in West Palm Beach as a teacher, though she was employed there for just one year. The school district has not yet issued a comment on the charges.