Jason Hunt and Samuel Wakefield have pled guilty to the theft of $530,000 from Vanderbilt University. The pair also pled guilty to aggravated statutory rape charges. The two entered their guilty pleas less than one month from their scheduled trial date. A 60-count indictment was issued earlier in 2012 that included charges of credit card fraud, theft and forgery.
Hunt, a former employee of Vanderbilt, pled guilty to one count of theft of over $60,000, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, six counts of aggravated statutory rape and nine counts of forgery. Hunt, by pleading guilty, receives a sentence of 22 years in prison. He can be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of the sentence.
The other defendant in the case, Wakefield, pled guilty to five counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of theft. By pleading guilty, Wakefield will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and could also be paroled after serving 30 percent of his sentence. Both of the defendants will be placed on the registry of sex offenders.
An investigation of Hunt by the university started one year ago after the school was tipped off that he was using school funds for personal purchases. While employed at the university, Hunt was responsible for initiating expense transactions for law school professors, students, centers and organizations. Hunt was able to authorize checks that were issued on the behalf of the school and was able to use a procurement card, which is a credit card issued by the school.
The investigation from the district attorney’s office discovered that from the time of April 2010 to October 2011, Hunt used the procurement card of the school for purchases that were personal and unauthorized. The purchases were for himself, for Wakefield and for his friends. The purchases totaled $291,873.
The investigation from the district attorney’s office also discovered that Hunt issued fraudulent checks from the school that totaled $244,089. A majority of those checks were issued based on forged check approval requests and forged email discussions that were used to make the checks appear legitimate. The final tally of money stolen from the school was $535,962.
The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office also discovered that a handful of the forged checks created by Hunt were cashed by two 17-year-old men. Hunt and Wakefield were involved in sexual relationships with those two 17-year-old males as well, which is what led to the statutory rape charges in the case against them.