Source: School Bus Fleet, May 12, 2015
A former director of transportation was recently sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for receiving at least $566,000 in kickbacks in a nearly decade-long bus contracts scheme. Alice Sherrod was the director of transportation for North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 from 2001 to 2010. She pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the northern district of Illinois, Sherrod received the kickbacks from three co-defendants who controlled several different transportation companies that received more than $21 million in student bus contracts. …. From the late 1990s until mid-2003, North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 contracted with various companies for student transportation, including T&M Transportation, which was owned in part and controlled by Boddie, and Eubanks Transportation, which was owned in part and controlled by Eubanks. In 2001, Harper and Sherrod met with Boddie and allegedly agreed to arrange for the school district to increase the number of students that T&M transported in exchange for kickback payments. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in May 2003 Harper suggested to Boddie and Eubanks that they join together to form one company, Safety First Transportation Inc., which won School District 187’s transportation contract in 2003. Harper, Sherrod, Boddie and Eubanks allegedly agreed that they would split the profits from the contract. After an IRS audit of Safety First in 2006-07, White, who authorities said had been acting as the “bagman” for the kickbacks, allegedly began receiving funds from Safety First as both an employee and a contractor, even though he provided little service other than being the bagman. In April 2008, the defendants allegedly agreed to set up a new company, Quality Trans LLC, to replace Safety First and to assume its contracts with the school district. Prosecutors said that all five agreed to continue splitting profits from Quality Trans, and Boddie, Eubanks and White continued making cash payments to Harper and Sherrod. ….