News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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2 Guilty in Diversion Of Impact-Aid Grants

A federal jury has found two men guilty in a scheme to illegally divert Department of Education grants intended for school districts in South Dakota, federal officials announced this month.

John B. Holmes, 35, of Silver Spring, Md., was convicted on Feb. 2 of conspiring to receive stolen government property, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and false use of a Social Security number. He faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington.

Daniel Dorceley, 30, also of Silver Spring, was found guilty of making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing hearings for both men are expected later this year.

According to federal authorities, two grants of more than $900,000 each were diverted from the federal impact-aid program, which provides aid to school districts whose tax bases are weakened by the presence of nontaxable facilities such as military bases. The grants intended for two South Dakota districts were diverted by changing their direct-deposit codes to a bank account in Maryland.

Prosecutors say that money deposited in the account was used to buy several sport utility vehicles costing as much as $46,000 each. The scheme began to unravel when a suspicious auto dealer got in touch with the FBI, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

—Erik W. Robelen

Deadline is Extended For Head Start Bus Rule

Head Start programs have until June 21 to implement a new requirement that buses and other vehicles transporting such students be equipped with seat belts.

The regulation was originally set to go into effect Jan. 20, but officials say they became aware of "major issues" making compliance difficult, according to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We are extending this deadline so we can work with Head Start grantees and our transportation partners to come up with creative solutions that work to everyone's benefit," Wade F. Horn, the assistant HHS secretary for children and families, said in the press release.

Under the new regulations, an adult acting as a monitor will also be required on every Head Start bus.

Grantees also can request extensions—lasting until Jan. 18, 2006—to comply with the new rules, but would have to explain why the delays were necessary.

—Linda Jacobson

Vol. 23, Issue 23, Page 39

Published in Print: February 18, 2004, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
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