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Womack receives suspended prison time on fraud charges

Earl Womack, former school deputy transportation director and member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, received a suspended 12 year prison sentence on felony fraud charges during an appearance…

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Womack avoids prison time

South Boston News
Earl Womack with his lawyer, Matthew Pack of Bedford.
SoVaNow.com / April 23, 2015


Earl Womack, former school deputy transportation director and member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, received a suspended 12 year prison sentence on felony fraud charges during an appearance Wednesday in Halifax County Circuit Court.

Womack was convicted of carrying out a scheme to improperly collect payments to three school bus drivers who worked under him in the transportation department. The charges involved the theft of $3,126.58 in school funds which Womack was ordered to pay back within 12 months as a condition of his suspended sentence.

He received three years on each of the four charges: one for embezzlement of school funds, and three for obtaining money under false pretenses from the bus drivers. All active jail time was suspended provided Womack makes restitution in timely fashion, is of good behavior for 10 years, and submits to a DNA sample. Womack was furthered ordered not to step foot on Halifax County Public Schools property by presiding Judge David Melesco.

After resigning his job with the school division in late 2013 — followed by his resignation from the Board of Supervisors after he attended one meeting in 2014 — Womack moved out of the county. He now resides in Orlando, Fla.

He was allowed yesterday to return home after giving the DNA sample. Womack had previously traveled in from Florida for a January 2014 hearing in which he offered an Alford plea of guilt to all four charges.

An Alford plea is not a direct admission of guilt, but rather an acknowledgement that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. Yesterday, Judge Melesco handed down a guilty verdict after receiving a pre-sentence report on the defendant. Womack had asked to be allowed to make restitution before any declaration of guilt was rendered.

In January, special prosecutor Nora Miller, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Mecklenburg County, offered a brief summary of the scheme that Womack used to bilk money out of the school division and three bus drivers, who the prosecution has said were blameless in the affair.

According to Miller, as transportation deputy Womack was responsible for overseeing time logs of bus drivers and submitting invoices for payment to the school division finance office. She said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Merle Herndon contacted Virginia State Police to report “some irregularities that had been discovered” with requests for payment to three drivers in late 2013.

At that time, Womack submitted two invoices reflecting three bus trips by drivers Tony Glass, Michael Faulkner and Israel Davis. The finance office received the invoices and paid the amounts that Womack said were owed to the drivers — $572.76 to Glass, $445.48 to Davis and $604.58 to Faulkner.

The men also received compensation for the trips as part of their regular pay. After the invoices were paid, Womack approached each bus driver to tell him that an error had been made and the driver had received double payment for the trips. Womack told each of the drivers to pay him back directly so he could reimburse the amounts to the finance office.

Glass and Faulkner each paid Womack back in cash, but Davis wrote out a check for $445.48, dated Dec. 20, 2013. The first check was made out to the county school division. According to Miller, Womack directed Davis to write a replacement check, made out to him directly.

“He said he could not take a check payable to Halifax County Public Schools and he [Davis] would need to make it personally to [Womack],” said Miller at the time.

Copies of both $445.48 checks were entered as evidence in the case.

Previously, the Commonwealth has agreed to drop three other indictments as part of Womack’s Alford plea agreement.

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