Former state school chief Linda Schrenko out of prison

63-year-old in halfway house
Ex-school chief Linda Schrenko embezzled money going to children.



Linda Schrenko, the former state school superintendent and Columbia County teacher whose political career was derailed by embezzlement while in office, has been released from federal prison to a halfway house.

Schrenko, 63, began transit Wednesday to her new home and will be supervised by Atlanta probation services, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke, who wouldn’t release her location out of safety concerns.

The Columbia County Republican served all but about six months of the eight-year prison sentence she received in 2006 for embezzling hundreds of thousands in federal funding from the state Department of Education while working as state superintendent from 1994 to 2002.

After she completes the last months of her sentence in home confinement, Schrenko will serve three years in the federal probation program. She also was ordered to pay $414,888 in restitution.

According to trial testimony in 2006, Schrenko and her deputy superintendent, Merle Temple, funneled money earmarked to help physically disabled children into her failed 2002 gubernatorial campaign.

Temple was to receive a break on his sentence by cooperating with the government, but that deal fell through when Schrenko revealed he was prepared to lie to protect her. They had been having an affair. Schrenko and Temple both pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 97 months on Sept. 12, 2006.

South African businessman Stephan Botes, whose company was used to funnel some of the embezzled money, was convicted and in September 2006 was sentenced to 97 months in prison. Botes’ employee Peter Steyn was acquitted of all criminal charges.

Temple, a political activist in Augusta, has already completed his prison term. He returned to his native Alabama and lives in Birmingham. He has written a book, A Ghostly Shade of Pale, that he is currently promoting.



Sat, 01/20/2018 - 21:01

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