ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A former employee with the Orangeburg County School District pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the district of over $550,000.

Evidence that was gathered during an investigation revealed 30-year-old David Cortez Marshall, Jr., a former media communication specialist employed by the district, created a scheme to defraud the district while purchasing remote learning cameras for school classrooms.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina said Marshall used shell companies, fabricated documents, forged signatures, and created a false identity to steer the district’s purchasing contracts to companies he created and controlled.

He then purchased the cameras and sold them to the school at a substantial markup, according to officials.

“Marshall also received funds from the school district for the cameras that he never paid to the seller,” officials said. “Through his scheme to defraud, Marshall received more than $550,000 in illegal proceeds.”

Officials said the scheme was eventually discovered by other school district employees, who confronted Marshall and reported it to the FBI.

“Any time an employee uses a position of trust to steal from their employer, it is inexcusable and wrong. Here, Marshall’s crime was particularly reprehensible because he stole money, provided by South Carolina taxpayers, from a school district during a pandemic that has already created unprecedented challenges in public education,” said United States Attorney Corey Ellis. “I appreciate the work of the FBI in bringing this defendant to justice. This office will continue to prosecute those who try to use the pandemic, or any other circumstance, to enrich themselves at the expense of hard-working taxpayers and critical institutions.”

Marshall faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for wire fraud, in addition to restitution, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment.

United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Marshall after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.