DETROIT (WJBK) - Franklin businessman Norman Shy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to cheating Detroit Public Schools out of millions of dollars.
Shy admitted to being the ringleader in the kickback scheme that involved him conspiring with more than a dozen principals and administrators to bill the district for schools supplies he never delivered. On Wednesday, he admitted in federal court to organizing the scheme and will have to pay $2.7 million that he stole from DPS. He also could get between 70 and 87 months in prison.
Shy will also have to give up several properties, pay back $51,000 to the IRS, and show his taxes between 2009 and 2013. The former DPS vendor didn't have anything to say and gave no response to the parents and kids in Detroit for organizing the kickback scheme.
He admitted in court that he conspired with all the principals involved to document fraudulent invoices for school supplies and, in most cases, the goods were never delivered. Shy got paid, and the principals received kickback payments in gifts cards and other transactions.
Shy, a Detroit high school graduate, would not offer comment about why he would steal from Detroit Public Schools. His attorney, Christopher Andrewoff, was just as quiet. when asked if he had an remorse.
"No comment. No. Thanks," Andrewoff said.
That silent treatment was the same for others like Principal Gerlma Johnson. She pleaded guilty on Wednesday as well and willg et between 24 and 30 months behind bars and pay back $22,000. She too wouldn't respond to questions.
Johnson claims she put some of the money back into her school and students, but that doesn't make right either. Her attorney, Brandon Upshaw, said she's sorry for what she's done.
"Of course she has remorse. She's a beautiful person. Sometimes when you try to do the right thing, you end up doing the wrong thing just to try and do the right thing," Upshaw said.
Shy said in court he ran his business all state sales for 47 years. In fact, one principal testified that Shy approached her by saying quote "I've been doing this for 50 years and I never got caught."
Shy is scheduled to be back in federal court in September for sentencing.