The fight against public corruption in Jefferson County continued Wednesday, Aug. 6, as a federal grand jury indicted three more former Beaumont Independent School District employees who are charged with embezzling money from a program receiving federal funds. Two of those indicted are alleged to have never actually worked for the district.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Malcolm Bales announced that Daryl Glenn Johnson, 44, Erin Gipson Johnson, 38, and Kailyn DeShondra Pete, 25, all of Beaumont, were indicted on charges of conspiracy and fraud.
According to the indictment, from July 2009 through June 2012, Daryl Johnson, who was employed as the warehouse supervisor for the school district, is alleged to have had first his wife, Erin Johnson, and then a friend, Kailyn Pete, placed on the BISD payroll as temporary employees. However, neither Erin Johnson nor Pete ever actually worked as a BISD warehouse employee. Daryl Johnson had the autonomy to hire temporary warehouse employees on his own, and the authority to determine how many hours they would be paid, and could do so unilaterally and without the authorization or direct knowledge of anyone else. Daryl Johnson is alleged to have used this authority to fraudulently verify that both Erin Johnson and Kailyn Pete worked the hours indicated on their respective timesheets, which included extensive amounts of overtime, when he knew that they in fact had not worked any of the hours. Pete is alleged to have paid Daryl Johnson $500 from each of the BISD payroll checks she received. From July 2009 through May 2011, Erin Johnson was paid nearly $194,000. During the timeframe of June 2010 through May 2012, Pete was paid more than $90,000.
If convicted, the defendants each face up to 10 years in federal prison.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office dismissed its case against Daryl Johnson on Monday, July 7, but at the time District Attorney Cory Crenshaw said that did not mean the case was dead. He said then that some cases were better prosecuted federally than at the state level.
According to a database search, Daryl Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft charges and prostitution charges in 1995. He pleaded no contest to family violence charges in 2000 stemming from a 1999 incident.
This case is being investigated by the joint task force with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the Beaumont Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Batte and Christopher T. Tortorice.
It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.