ROME, Ga. (AP) -- Nine people including a former maintenance director pleaded guilty Monday in a case in which authorities said they stole more than $6 million from a northwest Georgia school system.
Derry Richardson and eight other people pleaded guilty in Floyd County Superior Court, The Rome News-Tribune reported.
Richardson was charged in 2016 for using his position as maintenance director of the Floyd County school system to create inflated or bogus invoices for construction and maintenance projects. The money flowed to relatives, friends and coworkers .
Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach sentenced Richardson to 20 years in prison and 20 years of probation. Richardson is still negotiating with prosecutors about how much restitution he will have to pay, said his lawyer, Amanda Clark Palmer.
"We're trying to come to an agreement," she said.
His wife Lisa Richardson, his father Jimmy Richardson and brother Dwayne Richardson pleaded guilty Monday to charges related to racketeering, theft and bribery, as did five others: Rodney Holder, Charles Sherman, Russell Burkhalter, Sam Tucker and Harry Bailey.
Most of the defendants who pleaded guilty were sentenced to either home confinement or probation and several will be required to pay restitution to the county schools or fines.
Charges against two men were dropped. However, one has agreed to pay restitution to the system, while former Floyd County schools chief of operations Sam Sprewell has agreed to admit to ethics violations and surrender his educational license.
An earlier civil case recovered more than $1 million. Additionally, Richardson's former employer Johnson Controls Inc. agreed to pay Floyd County schools $2.3 million and provide services and equipment for two years.