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Tutor accused of defrauding Okeechobee School System

OKEECHOBEE--The director of a tutoring service was jailed late last week after she was arrested for being paid by the Okeechobee County School Board for services she allegedly never performed.

Felisia Hill, 38, Annona Ave., Pahokee, was arrested Thursday, April 5, on one felony count of grand theft and three felony counts of scheme to defraud. She was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail under a bond of $20,000.

Jail records indicate she has since been released on bond.

According to an arrest report by Detective Mark Shireman, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), the local school board received invoices from Hill stating that she had provided tutoring services for as many as eight local children.

The report lists Hill as the director of Glades Extreme Tutoring.

State records indicate that Glades Extreme Tutoring filed their corporate paperwork May 26, 2009, and their principal address is Hill’s home address in Pahokee.

Detective Shireman said Hill was paid a total of $2,266 on Feb. 28 that satisfied the invoices received by the school board for the months of October, November and December of 2011.

During the course of his investigation the detective reportedly learned that while services were provided for one local student, Hill did not follow up with several other students but allegedly submitted a bill for tutoring them. The detective said so far he has found three families that were victims of the alleged scheme to defraud. Some parents, he continued, have yet to file a complaint against Hill.

Because that one child was helped, Hill was charged with defrauding the school board of $1,916.
“None of the other families appeared to have received any services other than a parent-administered pretest not returned to Ms. Hill,” stated the detective in his report.

In his report, Detective Shireman described how Hill met with the families and gave them a testing packet or pretest. But, continued his report, that was the last time many of them ever heard from her.

There were instances, however, where Hill allegedly sent text messages to parents around 1 and 2 a.m. Those messages, continued the detective, asked the parents to sign forms “indicating the children were being tutored.”

In a couple of instances Hill reportedly sent parents $25 money orders.

Hill told one parent the money order was a “... reward for the child at Christmas,” stated the detective. However, after their initial meeting Hill had not seen the child again.

Detective Shireman went on to recount how, on April 5, Hill apparently went to a parent’s home and asked the mother “... if she wanted to get paid.” Hill eventually left the home and the mother, concerned about what had just happened, contacted Detective Shireman.

Through the course of his investigation Detective Shireman said he also learned that Hill had submitted paperwork to the local school board that was supposedly signed by the children’s parents. That paperwork allegedly indicated that Glades Extreme Tutoring had been working with the children.

Those parents told the detective, however, that they had not signed the paperwork.

According to the detective, when he asked Hill for a handwriting sample to compare with those signed forms “... Ms. Hill then said she thought she may need an attorney.”

Detective Shireman said the company also has tutoring contracts with Hardee, Highlands, Hendry, DeSoto, Glades and Palm Beach counties.

The OCSO detective went on to say that his investigation is continuing.