Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Former state school chief Linda Schrenko out of prison

63-year-old in halfway house

Thursday, March 7, 2013 2:34 PM
Last updated Friday, March 8, 2013 1:53 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

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.

Ex-school chief Linda Schrenko embezzled money going to children.  GREGORY SMITH
GREGORY SMITH
Ex-school chief Linda Schrenko embezzled money going to children.


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.

Comments (36) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
getitright84
305
Points
getitright84 03/08/13 - 02:15 pm
2
4
Shinola??? No Sir.

Columbia County is a joke. It is no secret. Even the "powers that be" in Atlanta can see they bathe in their own excrement of corruption and proclaim the scent to be Chanel No. 5. Indeed.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/08/13 - 03:19 pm
5
0
Yep, we're the bad seed of

Yep, we're the bad seed of Georgia. Guilty

Riverman1
93692
Points
Riverman1 03/08/13 - 04:19 pm
6
0
Question

She is a friendly, down to earth woman who was nice enough to me in my few dealings with her. Still that retirement thing makes me wonder. It is a large retirement because she had 30 years in and her high years were as Superintendent of Ed. Should she be allowed to draw retirement from the state that she committed a felony against serious enough to land her in prison for 8 years?

Fiat_Lux
16430
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/08/13 - 04:32 pm
3
0
That's an interesting question, ethicswise

Perhaps the time up until the crime might be spared for her use, but the time while she was stealing from the state doesn't really seem to me like time she was actually working FOR the state.

I don't see how the state would have any standing for taking the rest of her retirement from her, unless there is a law on the books requiring that as part of the penalty for committing a felony in the course of her employment.

It would be interesting to find that out.

GiantsAllDay
10490
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/08/13 - 05:47 pm
1
2
Darby: since you brought it

Darby: since you brought it up, what is your opinion, based on the picture? Did we the taxpayers get our money's worth?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 03/08/13 - 11:09 pm
5
1
@River,"Should she be allowed

@River,"Should she be allowed to draw retirement from the state that she committed a felony against serious enough to land her in prison for 8 years?"

ABSOLUTELY!! Commencing immediately after the last dime that she stole is paid back to the State of Georgia, plus court costs, and the bill for her incarceration. Then we can all be friends again.

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 03/09/13 - 02:05 am
2
0
As with all things

As with all things some people will forgive her and some won't. All she has to do is make sure she is right with God and then try to give to others rather than take. We all have the choice to be givers rather than takers and to love instead of hate. My hope is that Walker will be able to do the same when he gets out. Color has nothing to do with it and people shouldn't even bring that up. No one has to play the "victim" unless they just want to justify their own prejudice.

Riverman1
93692
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 07:25 am
3
0
Willow, yes, that's the way

Willow, yes, that's the way I'm looking at it, too. If she had worked for a company and had been caught with her hand in the till, she would have had to pay back EVERYTHING associated with the matter, plus pay her criminal penalty. Schrenko is going to end up very well off in her later life as it stands now due to her very high retirement income from the same state government and people she committed the crimes against.

Riverman1
93692
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 07:38 am
1
0
Fascination with Gangster Politicians

There is a fascination with those politicians who have done wrong and been caught. I don’t see it as a racial thing because Charles Walker has as many fans as Schrenko does. I remember when the flamboyant, charismatic Robin Williams was awaiting the jury verdict after his trial, a particular person in the media proclaimed he actually hadn’t broken the law, but had only been an aggressive wheeler dealer. For goodness sakes, this was after all the evidence had been presented and numerous articles had been written about his escapades. I’ve mentioned him in the Chronicle comments and some still take up for him and tell me how I really don’t KNOW HIM. Heh. Walker, of course, has the same unctuous followers among the blacks. He will be getting out in a couple of years and his influence will once again be felt. Some in the public simply need bigger than life figures to follow in some secondhand way while ignoring their law breaking.

Darby
29256
Points
Darby 03/09/13 - 08:55 am
2
0
No, Giants, I don't think so....

Not by a long shot.

If she had been military, (my own point of reference) she would have been busted down to private and given a less than honorable discharge with loss of all pay and allowances.

Politicians should face a similar fate for like crimes.

I say this as one who was once a strong supporter of Linda and who worked hard to elect her. On election night I stayed with her at HQ well into the night until the last results came in. It was a close election.

But I have zero tolerance for what she did. I can accept and move on, but do not favor rewarding dishonesty.

The taxpayers didn't get their money's worth, but they did get their pound of flesh.

GiantsAllDay
10490
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/09/13 - 10:01 am
3
0
It's been rumored that during

It's been rumored that during the facelift, the surgeon got a hernia.

harley_52
25879
Points
harley_52 03/09/13 - 01:19 pm
1
0
"They are Princesses.... Blonde, White women and girls."

Hoo boy....

Nothing racist about that statement.

harley_52
25879
Points
harley_52 03/09/13 - 01:24 pm
1
0
"Columbia County Republican?"

Wait a minute....I thought all the crooks were from Richmond County.

Maybe she moved.....

Riverman1
93692
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 02:38 pm
2
0
Harley, they're all from,

Harley, maybe she's from, "Yoknapatawpha County."

harley_52
25879
Points
harley_52 03/09/13 - 02:54 pm
1
0
" ....maybe she's from, "Yoknapatawpha County."

Ya' think?

I haven't heard of any crooks from there either. All of them I read about in here are either from Washington, DC, or ARC.

I have heard of a few from Wehathifupla County, but I think those were all Fugawe Indians.

A True Friend
2
Points
A True Friend 08/09/13 - 03:43 pm
0
0
Linda Schrenko

In light of all that has been said in the news regarding Linda Schrenko, I would like to say that Linda is a true friend of many years. My family and I were fortunate to be at South Columbia Elementary School in the 90's when Linda was the Principal. She and her husband Frank were there along side many of us parents, helping make a difference in the lives of our children. We appreciate ALL that Linda did to help our children! I would like to stand up for Linda at this time when she really needs a true friend. She has been my friend for a long time and I stand with her NOW as much as before.

What Linda did was not right and she admitted her wrong. She has paid the price for her actions and now it is time for us to move forward. As I think of Linda's story, I think of the story of Jesus writing in the sand. I think as he began to write the sins of those who were ready to throw stones, He helped them see that they had NO right to hold the stones in their hands any longer. May we as adults, put DOWN those stones, forgive those we need to forgive and be willing to understand that we too could be so misled and in trouble.

Linda, you are a wonderful person and I will always appreciate your love, concern and devotion you gave me and my family many years ago. Thank you for helping make a difference in the lives of our children! God bless you as you begin again. Please know true friends will always be true and will stand by you, especially when you need them most! I am so thankful that God gives us as many chances to get things right in this life IF we continue to look unto HIM. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon. Always remember; Jeremiah 29:11-14. God has a very special plan for you as you move forward. In this life, things are NOT always as they seem when we look unto God to show us the way. I am sure you are pursuing HIS way!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Daniel Field removes trees, lights structures in airspace

Daniel Field, managed by operations company Augusta Aviation, has spent more than $30,000 conducting land surveys, removing 30 trees and installing red blinking lights on top of the Newman Tennis ...
Search Augusta jobs