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Trial delayed for defendants in virtual schools fraud case

Athens Superintendent Trey Holladay, his wife and another Athens Schools employee face multiple fraud charges.


The trial date in a multi-million dollar fraud case against former Athens Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay and two others has been delayed until early 2022. 

Defense attorneys filed a motion with the court to delay the trial from its original September start in order to give them more time to handle discovery, which they said was voluminous. A federal judge in Montgomery, where the trial will be held, granted that motion and set a new trial date of Feb. 7, 2022. 

Holladay, his wife Deborah and fellow Athens Schools employee Rick Carter will stand trial together. 

The three were indicted, along with three others, in February for their roles in a scheme that diverted millions of dollars away from Alabama schools using virtual schools. The three others indicted, including Tom Sisk, the former superintendent of Limestone County Schools, have already pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme and provided lengthy confessions implicating Holladay and his wife. 

According to the indictments and guilty pleas, the scheme essentially revolved around creating fake students or falsely claiming that students in private schools had enrolled in two North Alabama virtual schools. Falsely beefing up those schools’ enrollment numbers brought millions of dollars in state and federal funding to the Athens and Limestone school districts. It also allowed those involved to receive kickbacks by way of consulting companies they established to “locate” the phony students.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Athens Police said neither victim nor witness implied any political motivation.


The scheme saw educators steal the identities of students in private schools and then use them to bilk public schools out of millions.


Tom Sisk, who pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme, will serve 18 months in federal prison.