BISD in chaos as federal officials storm sites of interest, take $56,000 from finance director
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were at the Beaumont Independent School District administration building and the homes of school district finance employees Devin McCraney and Sharika Allison the morning of Thursday, Nov. 7. Investigators had been to the home of BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois earlier in the morning to inform him of the warrant service. The BISD administration building ejected visitors to the school district’s main office while investigators from the federal agency swarmed the main office, saying that administrators would not be taking meetings from the general public. BISD employees working in the administration building were moved to the attached boardroom and cafeteria as FBI agents collected boxes of material to remove from the building.
FBI investigators stayed at BISD finance director McCraney’s home until shortly after 9:30 a.m., spending more than an hour on the premises. McCraney paced outside on the phone while investigators rummaged through his new Denali with the license plate SPOYLD. Multiple FBI agents also searched the inside of his residence, removing more than three boxes of confiscated materials upon their departure. Investigators made a return trip to the BISD finance director’s home later in the afternoon. According to sources close to the investigation, the second trip to McCraney’s home was to seize $56,000 in cash and money orders McCraney withdrew from a bank account immediately after the FBI had paid him a visit earlier that morning.
BISD comptroller Sharika Allison also received a morning visit from the FBI at her home on Scantilly in the city’s West End. Allison serves the district as the responsible party in charge of overseeing bond expenditures and student activities funds, and has access to the district’s cash vaults and check printing area.
According to BISD Communications Specialist Nakisha Myles, “The district is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding allegations that someone set up bogus accounts and diverted district funds. It is the district’s intent to fully investigate and provide information to the FBI.”
Myles advised that no further comment would be provided, but as the day drew to a close with FBI agents still scouring the contents of the school district’s main office building, Chargois stood in front of the BISD administration building to deliver a message to the public. The superintendent was flanked by Board of Trustees president Gwen Ambres and the district’s hired attorney, Melody Chappell, neither of whom said a word.
“Today has been a very difficult day for the staff of BISD,” he said, asking for “professionalism” as the FBI investigation unfolds. “Misuse of funds … will not be tolerated. The district is fully solvent, and we will rise above this.”
According to Chargois, although “this investigation is in (an) extremely preliminary stage,” there are two known suspects who have been placed on administrative leave. Chargois then asked for the public’s “continued confidence and trust” while under federal scrutiny, before retreating back into the building and refusing to answer questions from the media.